Roasted Vegetable Orzo

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Recipe

If a quick scan through my in-box is any indication, many of you are curious about...living with marble counter tops. The questions just keep coming, month after month, which makes me think this post is long overdue. So, let's give it a shot. After living and cooking in a very active, marble-countered kitchen, I thought I'd share some opinions, a bit of advice, and a recipe for the orzo salad I made on them just yesterday. Sound good? I'll kick things off by saying, you'll either love marble or it will make you crazy, anxious, and neurotic.

I love it, but made a number of decisions early-on that set the tone for our relationship. In short, I had no desire to keep it perfect. I wasn't even going to try. After I decided that, we were all good. I say this because absolutely every time anyone brings up the topic of marble in the kitchen, you end up talking about its propensity to stain, etch, and chip. Mostly the conversation revolves around staining.

My understanding is that many people apply a sealant every few years to help prevent staining and etching - we were advised that our counters needed re-sealing when we moved in nearly two years ago. The backstory: I suspect the counter tops here were installed about ten years ago when the entire building was renovated. The original sealant was applied at that point, and perhaps once more (?) in the meantime. At any rate, I decided when we moved in we wouldn't reseal them, for a few reasons. I don't like super-shiny marble, and I'm happy with a bit of etching, subtle discoloration, coffee blush, and all those things that come with a kitchen that has been much loved, and much-used. I want counter tops that tell a story over time. The kind that look like someone cooked, and prepped, and used them. Also, I use the counter tops directly for pastry and dough shaping, and don't love the idea of doing that on top of a chemical sealant that apparently wears off with use.

We do joke around a lot about "instant etching"...for example, when I'm juicing citrus, and there is acidic juice everywhere. In those sorts of scenarios, I try to be mindful, and will wipe that sort of thing off relatively quickly, but my overall attitude is more "whatever" / don't sweat it. That said, there are a couple exceptions related to my cooking style / repertoire. I'm careful with tomato sauce and tomato juice, wiping it off if it spills or splatters. And then there is turmeric, oh, and saffron. I'm not interested in having bright yellow stains across the marble, so I'm quite careful with those two. Or curry blends with turmeric in them. People seem to be particularly concerned about marble + red wine stains, but for whatever reason that hasn't been an issue. If we have friends over and there are wine glasses around they usually end up on the island or in the sink. If I was more concerned, I might make a pass through the kitchen once or twice over the course of a night to see if the counters needed a quick wipe down, but quite honestly, I never do. And the counters have been fine. I'm sure some of you have horror stories about marble counter tops (please share!), but so far, I like them more and more each day.

Roasted Vegetable OrzoRoasted Vegetable Orzo

Today's recipe? I simply roasted a number of the ingredients I had around the kitchen. I can't get enough delicata squash this time of year, and I always roast and eat it with the peel on. Kale? It's hard to escape right now. The orzo is a blend of whole wheat and plain - the remainder of a bag I've had sitting around for months. I tossed it all with a salted yogurt dressing of sorts. All said, don't feel limited by the my choice of roasted vegetables here, you can certainly swap in whatever you can imagine would be good - another winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, carrots - just roast each individually, until it is done (or tastes good)...

Roasted Vegetable OrzoRoasted Vegetable Orzo

Let me know if you have any specific questions related to marble in the kitchen, or if you come up with any alternative to my version of the roasted orzo that you're particularly excited about. I suspect there are going to be many more meals along these lines for me in the coming rainy months. xo -h

Roasted Vegetable Orzo

I used a blend of whole wheat and plain orzo pasta here. Use whatever you have or like. I find having percentage of plain mixed in with the whole wheat lightens it up nicely while still getting the benefits of a whole grain pasta.

1 medium delicata squash, seeded & sliced 1/3-inch thick
3 shallots, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted clarified butter
fine grain sea salt
4 medium cloves garlic, peel on

12 kale leaves, washed & dried well, de-stemmed & cut into 3-inch strips

1 1/2 cups / 9 ounces uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup / 120 ml plain yogurt

For serving: slivered scallions, fresh oregano, toasted nuts or seeds

Preheat the oven to 400F / 205C with racks arranged in the top and bottom thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment. You're going to roast the squash, shallots, and garlic on one sheet, and the kale on another.

Prep the delicata squash, and toss it in a large bowl with the shallots, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. Arrange in a single layer on one of the baking sheets, add the garlic and place on the bottom rack, for about 30 minutes. Spin once or twice along the way to get even roasting - let it all get deeply golden.

After the squash is in the oven, use the same bowl to toss the kale with another splash of olive, and pinch of salt. Arrange the leaves on the other baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until you get a touch of browning, but the leaves are primarily still green. Set aside.

Get the pasta water boiling, salt well, and cook the orzo pasta. Drain and use quickly (warm) OR (if you won't be serving for a while) run under cold water, and toss with a tiny splash of olive oil.

For the dressing, extract the roasted garlic from its peel, and mash it with a bit of the yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Work in the rest of the yogurt, taste, and add more salt if needed.

When you're ready to serve, toss the orzo, and roasted vegetables with about half of the yogurt. Turn out onto a platter and sprinkle with scallions, oregano, and seeds/nuts. Serve the remaining yogurt to the side.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • Looks like I know what I'll be making with the squash sitting on my (sadly, non-marble) counter. Thanks for the inspiration!

    lori
  • Your advice for the marble countertops is "spot on" Heidi! Thank you! This recipe is a keeper, as all of the others. I like to "toast" my orzo and rice of all kinds. It's sort of in reverse, add a splash of oil or fat of your choice to the pan (hot pan, cold oil) then add pasta or rice and toss a bit until you begin to smell the nuttiness. Add the liquid and proceed as normal. It's good!

    Lynn
  • I have had honed Carrara marble in 2 kitchens so far and love it....yes it scratches, and gets the dreaded acid etch,but when it's honed it is not so noticeable and it looks like a real cook uses the kitchen, not just for display. Also a plus for baking and candy making. I will say that I have had granite (twice),soapstone and slate as well as cherry and birch( I renovate and sell historic homes on Cape Cod) and I love the marble best !!

    Nancy Hopkins
  • If left unpolished, and be using Tung oil to protect, I am told by a professional chef, you won't have stains on your marble. The risk with acids is that they will eat into the marble so the oil is a stop gap for sure!

    Jacqui
  • we have an almost 50 year old marble table that my parents had made when they were stationed in Turkey. It's no longer shiny because it was outside for 10 years (acid rain), but we don't do anything special for it. My late MIL always rolled her pie crusts on it, and it was the single most sentimental thing that my husband brought home after she passed. I just use diluted mrs. meyers to clean it.

    melissa
  • We have a beautiful marble table at the studio which we use for baking and prep stories, and so far I haven't noticed anything that's worn through it, although we are pretty careful about it. We also have a brand new marble saarinen dining table, and Adam is QUITE THE MILITANT about it. We'll see how it progresses :) So happy you wrote this post, not only about the marble (been quite a discussion point at our house lately!) but also because I have every single one of these ingredients at home today. Lunch is going to be delicious, thanks Heidi!

    HS: Happy holidays Matt! There was one encounter with a marble slab at one of the coffee shops in the neighborhood that sort of put things into perspective for me - they keep the sugar and cream on it, and people spill coffee on it all day every day, year after year. And it is incredible to look at - beautiful. xo

    matt
  • I like your take on the countertops. :) Kitchens should be well-loved! I WISH we had them in our home, but maybe one day! And I will remember your perspective!

    Little Kitchie
  • I have a confession - I've pinned your pictures to Pinterest on my kitchen board because we are renovating right down to the brick and making a completely new kitchen. I love the look of marble and subway tiles. After doing so much research I will not be swayed - last weekend we purchased our carrera marble slabs! I was grateful to read your post about this and I think I will have the same attitude. I keep thinking of the marble counters in Italian cafes and how they look so gorgeous and so used. Thanks!

    Carol
  • So healthy and YUM! hmm...I would definitely be nervous about turmeric! I can't seem to avoid spilling that....

    Belinda @zomppa
  • When we reno'd our kitchen we put in marble and soapstone countertops; I never had such trouble getting someone to sell me something! Every yard we went to tried to talk us out of both options. Now, about 5 years later, the soapstone is actually much more distressed than the marble- and I love it!

    Jen
  • Any recipe that has kale and squash is already a winner for me. Even more so when they're roasted. Loving this!

    Mike @TheIronYou
  • That orzo looks divine, another jazzy vegetable recipe to add to the repertoire! A marble countertop is my dream ;)

    thecitygourmand
  • I love roasted vegetable salads this time of year and have been roasting kale in the oven too as a great way to cook it. I don't have any experience of marble but I too like a kitchen that is well used and loved. :)

    Caz
  • I was amused when I read about peoples concern about marble counter tops and you trying to make them understand how it is so easy to maintain. To be honest in India mostly all kitchen counter tops are of marble!! I remember my mom saying the same thing about lemon like you said. Wipe it before it stains but otherwise we never cared and it was all good :) Your recipe looks mouth watering!! It's 1 am here and I am hungry now.

    ami@naivecookcooks
  • Your countertops are really pretty. Just curious, what kind of cleaner do you use on them? I want marble in my next kitchen but my husband is not sold so I'm trying to gather as much info as possible :)

    JM
  • I recently wrote about roasted delicata and I can't get enough either of that easy friendly squash...so much nicer than a butternut to whack into :) And I love your counters, and that you're living in your kitchen; prepared for the imperfections. And great cutting board. I have a thing for old wood!

    Averie @ Averie Cooks
  • Love the salad recipe. I also like your thinking about the kitchen - it doesn't have to look perfect. Sometimes natural wear and tear is so beautiful.

    joy
  • I love--love!--the miso-and-curry-roasted delicata and kale salad from Super Natural Every Day. I sometimes roast the kale for that recipe right along with the delicata by caramelizing the squash in the oven, then adding a layer of kale right on top for a few minutes, then stirring it all together and roasting for a few minutes more. One less pan to wash! I love the contrasting textures, and next time I'll certainly try that combo with a garlicky yogurt. The efficiency of letting the oven do all the work on the veggies is so satisfying. :)

    emmycooks
  • Good attitude about the marble countertops! I don't have them but if I did I'd like to think I'd take on your perspective. On another note, I love that you eat your Delicata squash with the skin on. People always look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that the skins are good.

    Kay
  • Hi H, I love the addition of the toasty kale leaves here. Also I agree with you on the marble. We had so many people tell us to stay away from it because it stains so easily but quite honestly we've adopted a similar approach to yours and just take care to be conscientious but not overly anxious. We had ours sealed (it doesn't leave it shiny) and then I just use water and a sponge to wipe it down. I just love it.

    Noelle @ green lemonade
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