Lemony Orzo With Asparagus and Garlic Bread Crumbs
Every spoonful of this pasta has a happy jumble of lemony orzo, grassy asparagus, garlicky bread crumbs, fresh herbs and salty Parmesan. The pasta and thinly sliced asparagus cook together in the same pot, then rest in a lemony dressing while the garlic bread crumbs are toasted, so the pasta has time to absorb as much flavor as possible.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1cup orzo
- 1pound asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal (about 1/4-inch thick)
- 5tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1teaspoon lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more as needed (from about 1 large lemon)
- ½cup panko or homemade bread crumbs
- 1small garlic clove, finely grated
- ¼cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- ½cup fresh dill, mint or parsley leaves (or any combination), torn if large
Step 1Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente according to package directions. Two minutes before the orzo is done, add the asparagus. Drain the orzo and asparagus. Wipe out and reserve the pot.
Step 2While the orzo and asparagus cook, make the dressing: In a large bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons oil and the lemon zest and juice; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the drained orzo and asparagus and toss to coat. Set aside while you toast the bread crumbs.
Step 3In the reserved pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add the panko and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Step 4Stir the Parmesan and herbs into the orzo, taste, then season with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice, if desired. Top with the toasted bread crumbs and more Parmesan if you like. Serve warm or at room temperature.