Orzo with Spring Pesto and Lemony Lamb Chops
Lemony lamb chops, freshly made pesto with orzo and a tomato salad is a delightful spring meal.
- 8 lamb rib chops (if the chops are running small, allow 3 per portion)
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling, plus 5-6 tablespoons, divided
- 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)
- 3-4 tablespoons pistachios or pine nuts, lightly toasted (a handful)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced or grated
- A generous handful of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- Rub the chops with a little EVOO and season them liberally with salt and pepper. Arrange on a broiler pan and pre-heat the broiler.
- In a pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat, melt the butter in a drizzle of EVOO. Add the orzo pasta and cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the rice and stock and raise the heat to bring to a boil. Cover the pot and cook for 17-18 minutes, until tender.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the parsley, mint, nuts, garlic, cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Turn the processor on and stream in 4-5 tablespoons of EVOO to make a pesto.
- Dress the tomatoes and scallions with about 1 tablespoon EVOO, then season with salt and pepper.
- Broil the chops for 3-4 minutes on each side for rare to medium-rare doneness. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top of the chops immediately after you remove them from the oven.
- Stir the pesto into the rice pilaf to combine. Serve the chops alongside the pesto rice pilaf and tomato salad.