Many, many months ago, Tom and I had dinner at copperblue. I ordered beef tenderloin and it was accompanied by this great orzo side dish that serves as the inspiration for this blog entry. Their orzo had pancetta, swiss chard and cardoons. Again, I ask you, can you ever go wrong with any form of bacon? That’s a resounding No. The one and only time I’ve ever eaten (or seen) a cardoon was on my plate at copperblue. Obviously, cardoon stalks are not terribly popular at my grocery store. But, they are related to the artichoke, so I decided to use artichoke hearts in my orzo dish, as well as make a few additional changes to suit the orzo to our tastes (and what I had on hand).
Orzo with Pancetta, Swiss Chard and Roasted Artichoke Hearts
1 cup artichoke hearts (fresh, jarred and drained, or frozen and thawed)
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil and a little extra for the artichokes
1/4 lb. pancetta, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
1 2/3 cup chicken broth
1 cup orzo
3 cups swiss chard, chopped
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the artichoke hearts with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast them for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet or saute pan, and then add the oil. Add the pancetta, cooking over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. To the pan, add the chopped onion and saute until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Increase the heat slightly and add the wine. Cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken broth and bring to a light boil. Stir in the orzo and reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, about 8 minutes or until done. Add the roasted artichokes, pancetta, and swiss chard to the pan. Cover, turn off the heat, and let stand a couple minutes or until the swiss chard wilts. Season to taste.