Orzo with Asparagus and Prosciutto

In this preparation, orzo is treated like risotto, which produces richer flavors and a creamier texture — with almost no stirring.


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1 1/4 cups orzo (about 8 ounces)
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon (loosely packed) saffron threads, crushed
1 pound slender asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Parmesan cheese shavings


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and sauté until almost crisp, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet over high heat. Add orzo; stir 1 minute. Add broth and saffron; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until orzo begins to soften, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add asparagus; cover and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Mix in prosciutto and 1/2 cup grated cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Garnish with Parmesan shavings. Makes 6 servings. Originally appeared in Bon Appétit, April 2003.


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