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Creamed Orzo with Leeks and Parmesan

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Have you heard about the spotless giraffe!

Yep, that’s right. She was born a couple of months ago in Limestone, TN. She’s already 6’ tall of gorgeous. I was on my North Carolina mountain vacation when we heard about her. She made the NY Times, The Today Show, and about every other news outlet you can think of. She’s big news.

This type of birth doesn’t happen often. The last one was born in 1970 in Japan. She’s the only one in the world.

The one born in Tennessee lives only about 80 miles from our vacation spot. So, we detoured a bit to introduce ourselves as we traveled home....

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Creamed Orzo with Leeks and Parmesan

Orzo is a wonderful, tiny pasta. I don’t eat pasta often but when I do I try to make it count. This is the most requested side dish recipe I get from dinner guests. We have had dinner parties where the entire table of guests will try to guess the mystery ingredient. Almost no one figures out it’s nutmeg. This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled to serve a crowd.

Watch your portion and watch your scale the next day. The good news is the cream and cheese in here help cut down the glycemic uptake so this is better for you than straight pasta.

Servings: A serving size is ½ cup as a side dish or this can doubled up as a vegetarian entrée.



4 Tbl butter
2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced thinly. Cut the root end off the leek and remove outer ring of leaves. Then wash. Never use the green parts of the leek and don’t put them in the garbage disposal. Put them in the trash or compost them.
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (organic)
1 cup orzo cooked (tri-color or regular white is fine)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
dash of ground nutmeg (just a sprinkle across the top of the pan of pasta will do it)
4 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese (I have also made this with shredded cheddar and it was wonderful)
handful of baby spinach (optional)


Get your pot of water boiling and start your orzo. While the orzo cooks, melt butter in a medium sauté pan. Add leeks and cook over medium heat until they are completely loose. Add chicken stock and simmer until the stock almost disappears.

Drain your orzo when it’s finished cooking. Add it to the leeks. Then at this point add cream to the sauté pan with the leek mixture. Heat thoroughly stirring often. You are looking for the cream to be absorbed most of the way and for the cream to thicken a bit. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. A sprinkling of each will do.

Just before serving, add the Parmesan and baby spinach and stir until it melts.

Note: If you are making this ahead, you can add the Parmesan and spinach right away. Chill. Then just reheat in the oven in a casserole. If the orzo looks a bit dry in the oven, you can add a little extra cream. Stir once while it is reheating in the oven. This usually takes about 30 minutes at 300 degrees to re-heat.





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