I had bookmarked this soup recipe months ago because I liked the picture. It also sounded like a very simple and easy soup to go along with a grilled sandwich. Something about orzo tickles my fancy. Pasta shaped like rice is somehow comforting in a soup. I use it often in cold Mediterranean salads as well. That’s a summer thing. Soup is for the cooler times of the year.
I used my largest saucepan to sauté a diced onion in a little oil. I added the minced garlic at the end to just brown it a little, not wanting the garlic to get too dark because it gets bitter. I added the basil and oregano to freshen the seasonings, stirring them in the oil for a minute or two.
The broth, tomatoes and water were added next and heated through until the pot was bubbling nicely. I added the orzo and reduced the heat to medium low to simmer for 12-15 minutes. I tested the orzo and it was tender.
All that remained to do was to stir in the chopped spinach and taste test for seasoning. Adding salt and pepper and stirring after each addition I was pleased with the seasoning balance. The soup was ready! I let it sit on the lowest heat setting while I finished grilling our sandwiches.
I’d seen the chefs on The Chew make grilled cheese with parmesan stuck to the buttered outsides of the sandwiches. They said they were so good they’d never make it without Parmesan in the future. I was curious!
I laid American cheese slices and piles of Monterey Jack on my slices of bread then placed a second slice of bread over the cheese. I buttered the top side and sprinkled some Parmesan on top, pressing it down so it would stick. I used a spatula to flip the buttered side onto the heated griddle.
As the first side browned I buttered the top again and pressed Parmesan on the top side as well. You don’t need a great deal of Parmesan, just a little adds a great touch! I could have maybe used a little less but hey, I was winging this.
I loved the sandwich as it was, with my combo of American and Monterey Jack. Whatever cheese you prefer or have on hand would be good as well. Dipped in the soup, it was super tasty!
My P.S. (Princely Spouse/hubby) decided the soup tasted like Italian Wedding Soup without the meatballs. He was right, I hadn’t noticed but once he mentioned it I agreed.
It was a hearty soup with great seasoning. It was great leftover as well but the orzo soaked up much of the broth and it was closer to a hotdish than a soup! Not a problem for me, I loved it anyway. I just wanted to mention that happens as it does in most soups that contain rice or pasta.
Spinach and Orzo Soup
1 medium onion; diced
drizzle of oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I use it from a jar)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 cups chicken broth (I used Nash Brothers Organic)
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
15 ounce can water
1 cup orzo (I combined the rice shaped and the button shaped to make a cup)
1 package fresh spinach; chopped (about 3 cups after chopping)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onion in a drizzle of oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic, basil and oregano and sauté another minute or so, stirring well to prevent scorching.
Add broth, tomatoes and water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and add orzo. Cook for 12-15 minutes until orzo is al dente.
Add spinach and stir. Cook for a few minutes until wilted and serve soup hot.
The soup is very thick with a cup of orzo. If you prefer a soup with more broth, decrease amount of orzo.
4 medium servings
Adapted from Eclectic Recipes