Monday, March 19, 2007

Orzo with Shitake Mushrooms & Spinach

Orzo with Shitake Mushrooms & Spinach
From Fine Cooking#51, pp. 44

Kosher salt
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
5 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (see tip on "How to grate ginger")
Pinch crushed red chile flakes
8oz/226g fresh mixed mushrooms (I used shitake & cremini)stemmed, cleaned, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry sherry (or dry white wine)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
10oz/285g spinach, stemmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
8oz/226g dried orzo
2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1 lime, cut into small wedges

1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil.

3. Set a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in 1-1/2 tablespoons of the peanut oil and, after a few seconds, add the garlic, ginger, and chile flakes. Stir for 20 seconds, making sure that the garlic doesn't burn.

4. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry until they soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sherry and cook for another 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the mixture to a bowl.

5. Reduce the heat to medium, heat the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons oil in the pan, and add the onions. Season with salt and then sauté them, stirring often, until they're soft and slightly caramelized, 9 to 10 minutes.

6. Add the spinach, stirring and tossing occasionally, until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.

7. Remove and discard the garlic from the mushrooms, put the mushrooms back in the pan, and toss. Remove from the heat and season lightly with salt and pepper. Reserve until needed.

8. Cook the orzo in the boiling water until it's just tender, about 9 minutes. Drain it well and put it in a large bowl.

9. Add the mushroom mixture, soy vinaigrette, scallions, and sesame seeds (if using) and toss. Taste and season. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with lime wedges to squeeze over the pasta.

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