Screamin' Sicilian Orzo Pasta
Making this pasta was an evolution; you should see the notebook where I had all the ingredients written, scribbled, scratched and amended. There are whole sections wiped out with lines, and arrows for inserts when I had "thoughts" while I was cooking. Looking at the recipe, I can't help but draw the parallels to our lives. We plan them out, we map our path forward and then, we switch; make last minute decisions, and amend as we go along. Many of us don't see how that is beneficial nor do we value the time on the path while we are amending our plan and how that can lead to greatness. I started this recipe thinking it was going to be one thing, and then it became a totally different dish. A better dish, a more flavorful, robust and delicious dish; all because I wasn't afraid to change while I was making it.
This recipe's Sustainability Spotlight was going to be a more sustainable way to cook pasta (you'll see it below - a risotto method that doesn't waste any water; the pasta soaks it). However, as I sat to write this post, I had just come off my Peaches & Dreams Smoothie recipe which had me thinking about choices and dreams. It also made me connect this recipe with the formulation of dreams, the value of choices and how it is all an evolution.
We, as humans, tend to stick to a single plan or "path" with limited ability to embrace our evolution through external influences and inspirational choices we have along the way. This simple fact is an evolutionary mode of safety for humans; we don't like change. We don't understand change, we don't know how to predict change well, and we certainly don't know if we can be successful after change. This is the distilled reason why we know (and largely agree) that humans are killing the planet, but we simply cannot make the changes needed to heal our planet despite knowing our survival is not only threatened, but beginning to become endangered.
While there are revolutionaries in the technological space and there are thousands of voices echoing innovations to make this planet a better place for humans, plants, animals and future generations for all the inhabitants of the Earth, it hasn't incited real change. And why? I bet you know because you are smart, and you caught that numerical value. Thousands of voices. But, billions of humans occupy the continents of this world. Where are their voices?
Through my small path and efforts, I contribute to the hope that we can incite change by looking to the future and not fearing the unknown. We can make plans to get from point A to point B (or in the case of a small blog with a posted recipe that takes you from an idea to a meal). That plan is meaningless, though, if we don't value the process. The process is where the change happens; the process is where we learn and grow; and, the process is where we will succeed.
So, my ask (on this very philosophical day, I guess) is that the next time you are ready to set out on path with a plan in hand, please, don't be afraid to change it! Our planet has always be a supply of, and humans have relied on, non-renewable resources; that's the path that we are on. We know it ends; these are non-renewable (we don't get any more) resources! We know the path needs to change, but too few of us in the process are willing to see past the end of the path to deviate nor do we know how we can make those changes. Innovate, create, and lend your voices to those around you. We get there through me, you and the values we are handing down to our kids. We make better choices, teach others about those choices, and with many more of us being a part of the pathway to change, we will become deviation points of the next 10, 20, 50 years! Be the process for change, and change will happen.
1 head of broccoli (cut into florets)
1 bell pepper (any color - sliced)
2 cups orzo pasta
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 large bulb fennel (thinly sliced on mandoline) - 1/2 for pasta & 1/2 for roasting
4-5 garlic cloves (thinly sliced on mandoline)
4 cups vegetable stock (or broth)
1 cup filtered water
1 lemon (juiced)
1 cup pitted kalamata olives( chopped)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil; save 1 tbsp of oil) - diced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 handfuls baby spinach (chopped)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F; on a lined silpat sheet pan, place broccoli, bell pepper and 1/2 fennel bulb. Coat with 1 tbsp avocado oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 12-15 minutes; broil on high another 4-5 minutes to "char" slightly (as desired).
While veggies are roasting, heat large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat; add butter and melt until it bubbles - swirl in pan.
Add orzo pasta and saute (stirring frequently) to toast the pasta. Once it starts to turn golden, add garlic & fennel; sprinkle with salt & black pepper. Continue to saute until the pasta is a nutty brown color (~5 minutes).
Add 1 cup of stock, bring to a boil and stir infrequently. Once the pasta absorbs the liquid (~5 minutes), add another cup of stock. Continue this method until all stock and the 1 cup of water has been absorbed. Your pasta should be al dente with no liquid remaining in the pan.
Add lemon through spinach and stir until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
Once your vegetables are done roasting and your pasta is cooked, scoop some pasta into bowls and add roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with diced fennel fronds (if desired) for garnish. We thought this pasta tasted exactly like a Screamin' Sicilian pizza; thanks to my husband, I have aptly named this recipe to match our taste buds. He can't wait for me to make it again!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie