Orzo with Spring Pesto and Lemony Lamb Chops

Aired April 28, 2010

Serves Serves 4
8 lamb rib chops (if the chops are running small, allow 3 per portion)
EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling, plus 5-6 tablespoons
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 cup rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley 1 bunch
1/2 cup mint, a couple of handfuls
A handful, 3 to 4 tablespoons, pistachios or pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 large clove of garlic, minced or grated
A generous handful of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lemon
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Rub chops with a little EVOO and season chops liberally with salt and pepper. Arrange on broiler pan and preheat broiler.

In a pot with tight fitting lid over medium heat melt butter in a drizzle of EVOO. Add orzo pasta and cook to golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Stir in rice and stock and raise heat to bring to a boil. Cover pot and cook 17-18 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, in a food processor combine parsley, mint, nuts, garlic, cheese, the zest of 1 lemon, salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in 4-5 tablespoons of EVOO to make pesto.

Dress tomatoes and scallions with about 1 tablespoon EVOO, then salt and pepper.

Broil chops 3-4 minutes on each side for rare to medium-rare. Squeeze lemon juice over top immediately after you remove them from the oven.

Stir pesto into rice pilaf to combine. Serve chops alongside pesto rice pilaf and tomato salad.