Tuesday, September 3, 2013

One Great . . . orzo with bok choy

Yes, this is a little bit of letting worlds collide: Orzo is Italian, the tiny, tender pasta that looks a little like large flecks of rice. And bok choy is Asian, with wide green leaves and thicker stalks. At the Charlotte Regional Farmers' Market, there are Hmong farm families who sell bundles of baby bok choy for a couple of bucks. You can even get roots of freshly pulled ginger.

On Saturday night, I got the inspiration to put the two together and ended up with an excellent and easy side dish. It's even good cold, as a pasta salad. Two worlds, multiple uses. I call that globalizing.

Orzo With Baby Bok Choy

A thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 to 4 small heads of bok choy
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

SCRAPE the peel off the ginger with the edge of a spoon or a vegetable peeler. Cut into several thin slices, then cut the slices into matchsticks. Peel the garlic and cut into thin slices. Set aside.

TRIM the base of the bok choy, then cut the stems into bite-size pieces and cut the leaves into strips. Keep them in separate piles.

BRING 2 cups of water to boil. Add the orzo. Cook 11 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 5 minutes, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the ginger and cook a minute, then add the bok choy stems and the sesame oil. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and then the bok choy leaves. Cook, stirring, just until tender.

DRAIN the orzo and add to the skillet. Cook a minute longer, tossing frequently. Serve.

YIELD: 4 servings.