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Lamb Meatballs with Orzo and Asparagus

Orzo, or “barley” in Italian, is a small pasta that looks like rice. Its short shape makes it ideal in soups and side dishes because it fits perfectly on a spoon! Cooking tip: To prevent sticking, dampen your hands with warm water when shaping meatballs.

Recipe by: Chef Elana
Serves: 3
Total time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 large shallot
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts
¼ bunch parsley, divided
1 lemon
1 bunch asparagus
12 ounces ground lamb
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 ounces orzo
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Prepare Ingredients

Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Peel shallot and grate using a box grater or finely mince. Grate or mince garlic. Roughly chop pine nuts. Rinse parsley and roughly chop leaves, discarding stems. Zest lemon and halve. Rinse asparagus, trim and discard woody ends, and cut spears into ½-inch pieces. Pat lamb dry with paper towel.

2. Prepare Meatballs

In a large bowl, add shallot, garlic, pine nuts, half of parsley, lamb, ground cumin, bread crumbs, tomato paste, and 1 egg. Season with salt and pepper. Mix by hand until combined, then form into 1-inch balls. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast until cooked through and no longer pink, about 17 minutes.

3. Cook Orzo

Meanwhile, add orzo and a pinch salt to boiling water in pot. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

4. Prepare Asparagus

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add asparagus and cook until tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Season Orzo

Add asparagus, lemon zest, crumbled feta, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to orzo in bowl. Toss to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

6. Plate Meatballs

Divide orzo and meatballs evenly between 3 plates. Garnish with remaining parsley, squeeze over juice of lemon, and serve.

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