Sautéed shallots, garlic, figs and fresh sage tossed in a light, yet creamy sauce made of pumpkin puree, vegetable stock and skim milk. I added spinach because it is a nice, mild cooking green, however even a more bitter green, such as kale, would complement this dish nicely.
Orzo is simply a rice-shaped pasta. It is prepared the same way as pasta (easy peasy) and works great as both a side or main entree. Orzo is also available in whole-wheat varieties, however my local grocery store unfortunately does not carry it… YET! I will be writing a letter.
Let’s also talk figs (and my current obsession with them). Figs have two seasons – a relatively short season in early summer and a second, main crop season that starts in late summer and runs through fall. This is my favorite time to use figs, as I love using their sweetness to cut sharper, more savory flavors – anything from cured meats to smokey, aged cheeses. I go nuts over a crostini with a little slab of goat or mascarpone cheese, sliced figs and drizzle of balsamic. Best appetizer in existence.
They are pretty delicate when it comes to cooking so they only need to be sautéed for a few minutes. Expect them to get a tad mushy, but still hold on to their honey-like sweetness.
AND THEN you could use your leftover figs to create a decadently delicious dessert. Perhaps a little Greek yogurt or vanilla ice-cream topped with granola, honey and figs? Or these Fig-Walnut Sticky Buns that I wish I didn’t stumble upon. Sounds like a meal worth writing home about!
Creamy Pumpkin Orzo with Figs and Spinach
Makes 3.5 cups prepared (~4 servings)
- 1 cup (dry) orzo pasta
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 5 black mission figs, chopped
- 3 generous handfuls of fresh spinach
- 5 sage leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I use Libby’s)
- 1/2 vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add shallots and sauté for 3 minutes, until translucent. Add figs, garlic, spinach, sage, salt and pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add pumpkin puree, vegetable stock and milk. Stir until combined and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook orzo pasta in a medium pot of salted water as directed for al dente.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain in a colander and add to the skillet. Toss all components until well combined. Serve with freshly grated cheese if desired. Enjoy!
Nutrition facts per serving (3/4 cup)
Calories: 220; Total Fat: 3.5 gm; Saturated Fat: <.5 gm; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 150 mg; Carbohydrates: 40 gm; Fiber: 4 gm; Sugar: 8 gm; Protein: 8.5 gm