1 14-z Can of Whole, Non-Marinated Artichoke Hearts.
1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Red-Wine Vinegar
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 Teaspoon Finely Fresh Lemon Zest
Preparation and Cooking
Fill a 4 or 5 quart pot with water about 1/2-3/4 of the way full.
Salt the water and stir.
Place the pot with water on the stove until it comes to a soft boil.
Place Orzo in the Water.
Cook about 5-7 minutes, or until Al Dente (cooked but not soft).
Drain Orzo well in a Colander.
While orzo cooks, lightly toast pine nuts in a dry small skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden. This will take about 2 minutes.
Once the pine nuts are toasted, remove from heat and let them cool a minimum of 1 minutes.
Coarsley chop the pine nuts.
Drain artichoke hearts in a large sieve and rinse well.
Pull off leaves from bases of hearts and quarter bases.
Rinse the leaves and bases well.
Drain the artichoke hearts thoroughly.
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Add orzo, pine nuts, artichokes, parsley, and zest to the bowl.
Toss and mix combine.
Swap a package of frozen steamed artichokes for a can of artichokes. Make to package directions and use the same way in the recipe.
The olive oil doesn't need to be extra-virgin unless you have it on hand. Regular olive-oil or flavored olive oil will be just fine for the recipe.
The red-wine vinegar can be store brand and doesn't need to be expensive.
Worried about salt content? Just salt the water and don't add any extra. Then allow your diners to salt to taste.
Pine nuts can be swapped with cashews for a similar taste.
Easy Preparation Idea
Prepare the toasted nuts and artichoke before the orzo. These can be made well before, as they do not need to be warm for the recipe. Then you can make the orzo and serve hot when ready with little fuss.
Add grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, when your tossing the orzo, pine nut mixture. It adds a little depth and makes it a more like "traditional" pastas, to the picky eater.