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Orzo with Spring Pesto and Lemony Lamb Chops

Serves 4

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Dress the tomatoes and scallions with about 1 tablespoon EVOO, then season with salt and pepper.
  5. 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.
  6. Stir the pesto into the rice pilaf to combine. Serve the chops alongside the pesto rice pilaf and tomato salad.