From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's hard to believe that another school year is about to begin and that we'll soon have to put the lazy days of summer behind us. Those first few weeks of school were always a time of transition in my kitchen. Our meals became more substantial as the weather changed, but I wasn't quite ready for the full-court press that winter meals demanded. Back in the day, I relied heavily on skillet meals for weeknight suppers. Actually, they were a survival tool. Now, you would think that an old woman, who no longer has a chick or child to care for, would have retired skillet meals at the time about the same time she retired. That didn't happen and I still collect simple skillet recipes to expand my collection and share with my daughters. I am not a "foodie" so anything, however humble, is fodder for my plate and palate, as long as it is delicious. As it happens, most skillet meals are delicious and I don't think they should be overlooked. The recipe I'm featuring tonight was originally developed for America's Test Kitchen and I think you will enjoy the ease with which it comes together. While I've made small changes to the recipe, I'm sharing the original version with you, but would recommend the use boneless thighs instead of breast to make the dish. I suspect you might also want to double the amount of cheese that is called for in the recipe. This is basic food at its best and I think you will enjoy this chicken preparation. Here is how this skillet supper is made.
Skillet Chicken and Orzo with Tomatoes and Parmesan Cheese...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of America's Test Kitchen
1-1/2 cups orzo
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded if necessary
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1) Toast orzo in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When it is golden brown transfer to a bowl.
2) Using same skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan and heat until it shimmers. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly brown both sides of chicken, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
3) Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in garlic, oregano and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, stock and toasted orzo.
4) Place browned chicken and juices into orzo. Bring contents of skillet to a simmer, reduce heat, cover pan and cook until chicken is done, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
5) Continue to cook orzo until al dente and creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in Parmesan cheese and basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with chicken. Yield: 4 servings.
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