Creamy Orzo with Eggplant and Arugula

Calories: 900 | Prep Time: 30-40 minutes | Difficulty: Easy

From Chef Elana Carp: Confession. We love cheese, but rarely dub dishes that are not mac-and-cheese into melty-goodness-hood. This orzo dish, in all its cheesy and arugulay glory, definitely makes the cut. Try it. Love it. Thank us later.

Ingredients (yields 4 servings):

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 stick butter, soft + unsalted
  • 1 large Italian eggplant
  • 2 cups dry orzo
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Olive oil (pantry)
  • Water (pantry)
  • Kosher salt (pantry)
  • Black pepper (pantry)

Directions:

1. Sprinkle your eggplant generously with salt and let it drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse it well and pat it dry on towels.

2. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

3. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and once the oil is shimmering, add the eggplant. Fry for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer them to paper towels to drain.

4. Add celery and carrots to remaining oil and cook for 3 minutes before adding onion and garlic. Cook together for 5 more minutes on medium heat.

5. Stir in the orzo and tomato paste and cook for two minutes more. Off the heat, add the oregano, mozzarella, parmesan, tomatoes, fried eggplant, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon table salt, many grinds of black pepper and the stock and mix well.

6. Transfer mixture to an 8×11-inch (about 2 quarts) ovenproof baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then bake 20 minutes without the foil. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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