Orzo with Fresh Fava, Feta and Lemon

I make this all the time, with any seasonal vegetable I harvest from the garden – diced tender zucchini, green beans or eggplants in the summer, squash, shredded cabbage, wild greens or spinach in the winter. The Orzo is cooked in the same style as Italian risotto, yielding a wonderful, creamy texture, though still with some bite.


Serves 3-4

1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 cups chopped fresh favas in their pods, or shelled fava beans
1 pound orzo
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and Aleppo pepper, or pepper flakes
7-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, very hot
1/2 cup chopped wild fennel or dill
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped green garlic (optional)
2-3 cup feta cheese, mashed with a fork
3 tablespoons lemon zest

In a sauté pan or deep skillet warm the oil and sauté the garlic and the fava for 10 minutes.
Add the orzo and sauté, stirring for 2-3 minutes, to coat with oil, then pour in the wine, add a little salt (feta is quite salty) and pepper. Pour in 3 cups of the very hot broth, and cook, stirring every now and then, and adding additional broth as the pasta absorbs the liquid. After 10 minutes add the fennel or dill, reserving 1 tablespoon for serving; continue cooking and adding broth until orzo is cooked al dente, about 20 minutes.


Remove from the heat, add the fresh garlic, if using, the lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups feta, and the zest. Stir, taste and correct seasoning. Sprinkle with fennel or dill, and serve immediately, bringing more feta in a bowl, so people can add more, if they like.


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