I love a quick pasta, and orzo fits that bill completely. The best thing about orzo is that it can morph into any direction you want, and it soaks up all of the tasty liquid you might add, giving a well-flavored background to whatever else you might consider adding to the dish.
This is a great weeknight option, yes, but also makes a lovely lunch the next day. I love broccoli and chicken; this recipe can flex to use sausages or meatballs, or you can use skinless chicken thighs. If you're going with the thighs, you'll need about 2 - 3 kg. Season the thighs well with salt and pepper. Heat a bit of olive oil and brown thighs on each side before, remove from pan and set aside. Then continue with the recipe adding the garlic, onion and celery. You'll add the pre-browned chicken back to the pan at the same point as the meatballs.
Broccoli-Chicken Orzo Skillet
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 T chicken bouillon (if using bouillon, use water for liquid and not broth)
1 tsp anchovy paste, optional
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
2 medium heads broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups dried orzo pasta
2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (use water if using bouillon)
2 packages frozen chicken meatballs, or chicken sausages, your favorite flavor, thawed
2 T capers, chopped, if desired
Zest and juice one lemon. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add 2 garlic, onion and celery. Stir well until the veggies start to look shiny. Add anchovy paste and tomatoes. Add paprika, season with salt and pepper. Add broccoli and stir well to combine. Cover with lid and and let cook until broccoli starts to turn bright green.
Add orzo, stirring well to coat with the seasoning and juices in pan. Slowly add the liquid, and stir well to combine. Add meatballs or pre-browned chicken pieces. Cover and let cook 10 - 15 minutes or until the chicken/meatballs are cooked through. Sprinkle the zest over the pan and stir in the lemon juice.
Uncover and finish cooking, 5 minutes. Sprinkle top with capers and enjoy!