Orzo Risotto with Spinach

I am on Weight Watchers (WW).   I joined 4 weeks ago and am doing pretty darn good.  I am happy with it.  I had a gastric bypass a few years ago and lost over 130 lbs, which wasnt as much as I wanted to lose but nothing to sneeze at.  I have a heart condition that manifested from losing the weight and it really slowed down my progress.  Add on getting married to someone who is a burgeoning foodie, having twin teenage boys and my own love of cooking and you have a recipe for weight gain.  Hence WW.    I wanted to make my own food and my own choices.  So here is one of the recipes I have added and tweaked and made my own. 

It started out in a Rachel Ray Mag.  Dont hate.  I think she is fun and bubbly and while entirely way over exposed, I like her style and her outlook on food.  If that changes the way you think of me, well I hope we can still be blog acquaintances!   This was in her March edition.  Well what this recipe started out as, is in the March edition.   Now is has been Kimmi and WW-ized!

One of the issues with rice (and some pasta) is that in WW it is so high in points.  I love rice; white rice, brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice.. hell if there is rice in the name I like it.  Even rice wine vinegar. Granted that has wine in there too which gives it a leg up!   So when I saw this I thought.. mmmmmmmmmm orzo…. rice…. orzo is 5 points per cup… arborio is 18 points per cup.  Wooooohoooooo  I was so excited.  Then I looked at the rest of the recipe.  There was no way that I was going to be able to make this points manageable unless I worked with it.  Plus Rob wouldnt eat some of the stuff in it.  So we were off to tweaksville.   And it worked.

Yield: 8 1/2 cup servings

4 cups cooked orzo (I just made 3/4 a box, the left overs are for salads)
1 small onion
1  1/2 cup half and half
1 cup pecerino/asiago/parmesan (italian hard cheese) fresh shredded
2 cups spinach with the spine removed (or use baby)
reserved pasta water (save some out when draining the pasta)

The Cast of Characters

Dice and lightly saute your onion with some S&P in a lightly sprayed pan.

Meanwhile shred your cheese.  The recipe originally called for shaker cheese.  I dont use the stuff.  It tastes like powder to me.  If you use it and love it, great, give it a try but it just isnt for me.  So I shred my cheese fresh, it tastes better and in the end it really isnt all that much more expensive if you watch the sales.

Take the spine out of your spinach.. you know, that part of the stalk that is a bit tough and not as yummy.. and then break it up into smaller pieces.  Or you could just use baby spinach, which would be easier, if I had that in the fridge that is.  So full grown tough spined spinach we used..  its still yummy.

The next couple steps I didnt take a picture of.. I hope you can forgive me.. Please?  

Okay, thanks for forgiving me.. I knew you would, eventually.   Oh the directions.. okay.

Add the half and half to the onions and stir together. Add the shredded pecerino and bring to a simmer until thickened up a bit.  Then add your orzo.  Stirring to incorporate.  Add some of your reserved pasta water to make it a bit creamier and thicken up to your desired creaminess/thickness.   

Toss in the spinach and stir to incorporate (yeah pictures are back)

Serve with whatever your little heart desires.  I served this with some edamame and some sliced cooked chicken. 

In the end, I just sort of mixed it all together.   Very creamy, not too cheesy and other than adding a touch more S&P next time, oh so worth the 6 points for the 1/2 cup serving!

Happy Cooking!!


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