Dinner for Two: Sweet Sausage and Pea Orzo Risotto

Dinner for Two

Quick recipes for you and your dinner mate.


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

This recipe is the perfect solution for nights when you want something hearty, but don't want to make a big fuss about it. This orzo risotto has everything right in it: meat, pasta, vegetables, but it only takes one pot. And it has the velvety, creamy, hearty feel of risotto, with far fewer ingredients and babysitting.

Start off by browning good sweet Italian sausage in a little bit of olive oil, and add a chopped shallot if you have one. Then, add in the orzo, about half a box. Cover with water or stock, and if you follow the measurements below, and stir a little bit, after around 10 minutes, the orzo will be cooked and perfectly starchy and creamy, just like risotto. Add in the peas and Parmesan, and stir.

The sausage has that meaty fennel flavor. The peas pop sweetly in your mouth. The cheese makes everything thick and salty and nutty. And the orzo has collapsed in its own starchy, velvety juices. It's thick, homey Italian comfort food, and just what you need after a late walk home on a cold fall day. It's stick to your ribs, but so much simpler, and in a way, so much more welcome for it.