A few weeks ago I made some Pickled Donut Peaches. I saw adorable donut peaches in their short season at my grocery store and snatched them up. Then I found a recipe to pickle them, so I did. I really didn’t think it through past that step. I had no idea what to do with pickled peaches. I thought about it for a while, and thought maybe they would be good in risotto. Then I decided to make the risotto with orzo pasta instead of rice. The risotto, or orzotto, part was quite good. I used bourbon where risotto normally calls for white wine, and it lent a deep, beautiful flavor. I didn’t care for the pickled peaches at first. But then they grew on me. They were a little too tart at first, but they mellowed quite nicely. By about midway through the meal, I was really enjoying the dish.
As I finished my last bites of pasta, I was already scheming how to use up the rest of the pickled peaches. I think I’ll go back to my original idea of brined and grilled pork chops and see what I can come up with on that front. Stay tuned!
1 ½ cup orzo pasta
1 tbs olive oil
Small onion or large shallot, chopped
Red bell pepper, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup bourbon or whiskey
4 cups vegetable stock
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful of basil leaves, julienned
2-3 pickled donut peaches, pitted and chopped
Pour the vegetable stock into a small stockpot. Heat on medium-low. You want to warm it but don’t let it boil.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then saute the onion and bell pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Next, add the pasta in and stir to coat it with oil (add more if your pan is too dry), and toast it up a little bit. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the bourbon and stir until it’s evaporated.
Add the vegetable stock in ladlefuls (about 1 cup at a time), and stir consistently between each addition. Do this until you have used up your stock. At that point, your pasta should be cooked through and creamy, but not mushy. This process takes about 20 minutes.
When the orzo has cooked through, add the peaches, lemon zest, and basil. Stir to combine everything. Serve immediately.