Confession: Often when I’m uninspired, I just combine whatever I have left in my kitchen, and hope for the best.
Sometimes this leads to disaster, but sometimes, as in this case, it leads to something delicious.
Fennel-Raisin Orzo Pilaf
Serves 4 as a side
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1 large fennel bulb (stalks discarded)
- 1/4 cup slivered or coarsely chopped almonds
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
- 1 cup orzo
- 1/2 cup chopped herbs (I used mint. Cilantro is also recommended.)
Slice fennel into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then sauté fennel, onion, salt, and pepper until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in almonds, raisins, coriander, and saffron and sauté until raisins start to plump, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring 4-6 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo and cook about 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain orzo.
Combine the orzo, fennel mixture, and half the chopped herbs. Top with the remaining herbs just before serving at room temperature.
I ended up eating this as a light dinner, and saved the leftovers for lunches. It would also be a great side for a meat dish. I’m pleased to say that I will be making this “clean the icebox” style dish again.
I have also come to the realization that I need to cook with fennel more. It is so tasty! Let me know if you have any special fennel dishes.