Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushroom and Red Peppers

Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushroom and Red Peppers

From: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 Tbs. olive oil
2 (about 1-1 1/2 lbs.) chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2" pieces
8 oz. white button mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 lb. orzo
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbs. flat leaf parsley, chopped
juice of 1 lemon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook until done.  When the orzo is done, set aside 1 cup of the pasta water, drain orzo and set aside.

While the orzo is cooking, in a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken to the hot oil and brown on all sides.  When browned, but cooked through, add the peppers, mushrooms and thyme.  Stir and let cook for 5 minutes, until the chicken in cooked through and the mushrooms and peppers have softened and browned and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.

In the skillet over medium heat, add the softened cream cheese in small chunks and stir so that the cheese melts and coats the chicken and vegetables.  Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer.  Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Stir.  Add the orzo, Parmesan, lemon juice and parsley. Stir to combine and heat through.  Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley.

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