19 March 2011

Newman's Own Lighten Up Caesar Orzo Pilaf

Newman's Own Caesar Orzo Pilaf

If you remember my Newman's Own video post, I received a package of Newman's Own products thanks to a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. Well, my recipes didn't end with the recipe I created to feature in the video. I also made a tasty side dish to accompany the chicken cutlets I cooked.

It's pretty cool to have received all these items, and to show my appreciation I want to utilize them by making a few more recipes with the products. Also, stay tuned for a giveaway. I haven't been able to locate Newman's Own pizzas in the grocery stores around here so my plan is to give away the two coupons I received, each good for one pizza. Hopefully you guys will have better luck! It'll begin Monday.

Newman's Own Caesar Orzo Pilaf

This is a very quick recipe that cooks in under twenty minutes. Orzo is a unique pasta because it's small and can be used in ways similar to rice. Using Newman's Own Lighten Up Caesar dressing, the flavor is infused into the orzo as it cooks. I opted to do this instead of stir it in after it had cooked because I felt the flavors of the dressing would stand out more.

Newman's Own Caesar Orzo Pilaf

What is a pilaf? Shortly, it's a rice dish with vegetables, but cooked with chicken (or vegetable broth) and wine. The rice is also browned a bit with the vegetables, afterward it's cooked like you would plain rice. It's a great dish for special occasions and doesn't take much more effort to make.

Newman's Own Caesar Orzo Pilaf

How can you make it with orzo? Pretty much the same way. After sauteing the vegetables, mushrooms, onions, and garlic here, you add the orzo and saute for a few minutes until it begins to look somewhat brown and toasted.

Newman's Own Caesar Orzo Pilaf

The broth and Caesar dressing are added. The mixture is then returned to a boil and cooked until the orzo is al dente. Unlike with rice, you don't have to cover it with a lid. A few minutes near the end, I added frozen peas (which were somewhat thawed). I didn't add them earlier because I wanted to reserve their bright green color.

My pilaf came out with a bit extra liquid, though most of it had soaked into the orzo. I liked it a little saucy because it reminded me of risotto. The dressing really stood out and flavored the dish nicely, and the romano cheese from the dressing lends a complexity of tastes. It's light enough to serve alongside a heavier main dish. Perfect for spring, perfect if you have a bottle of Newman's Own Lighten Up Caesar Dressing waiting to be used!

Newman's Own Lighten Up Caesar Orzo Pilaf
Recipe by Christina Provo, adapted from quick orzo pilaf.

ingredients -

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups finely chopped button mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces dry orzo pasta
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup Newman's Own Lighten Up Caesar Dressing
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

directions -
  1. In a medium pot heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. And onions and salt; saute for 3-5 minutes or until it begins to turn translucent. Stir in garlic and mushrooms; cook for one minute. Stir in orzo and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until orzo begins to brown.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the broth and the Caesar dressing until warmed. Add to orzo and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer; cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep orzo from sticking to bottom of pot. Mix in peas and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes, checking to see if orzo is al dente.

  3. When pasta is cooked, remove orzo pilaf to a serving bowl; stir in parsley. Serve immediately.



  1. sounds yummy! we don't get orzo.. do you think it would work with other pastas? or should i just try it with rice?

    Or maybe i can break some spagetti down to orzo-sized pieces :) lol

    thanks for sharing!

  2. Harried Cook - If you can find Ancini de Pepe, that would make a good substitute. You could also make this dish with couscous by sauteing the vegetables until cooked (about 10 minutes), then mixing the vegetables and liquid (in proper proportions) with couscous.


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