Loi Kritharaki Orzo with Tomato, Onion and Mint

The restaurateur has her own line of orzo.

Maria Loi appeared on Good Day with recipes using orzo from her new pasta line.

Loi Kritharaki Orzo with Tomato, Onion and Mint
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 package of Loi Kritharaki Orzo pasta
8 tablespoons of Greek olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium tomato, grated
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves (no stems)
¼ cup feta, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1.            Boil Loi Kritharaki Orzo pasta in salted boiling water with two tablespoons of olive oil for 7-9 minutes, until it has reached the desired texture.
2.            While the pasta is boiling, add the onions to a large, dry pot over medium heat.  Add a bit of salt to leech the moisture, and caramelize until golden.
3.            Once the onions are golden, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic, stirring to thoroughly combine and prevent the garlic from burning; cook for another minute or so.
4.            Add the tomato, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, until all ingredients combine and the liquid reduces and thickens slightly. 
5.            Drain and add the Loi Kritharaki Orzo pasta to the pot with the vegetable mixture, stirring to combine.
6.            Taste and season accordingly; add fresh mint, mix to combine, serve topped with crumbled feta and drizzled with 2 tablespoons of olive

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Loi Kritharaki Orzo Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes
Boiling water
1 white or Spanish onion, grated
3 tablespoons Greek olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
1 cup of red wine
½ teaspoon hot paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package of Loi Kritharaki Orzo pasta
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Method:

1.            Fill a bowl with ice and water. Using a paring knife, make a small X on the bottom of each tomato and place them in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes. After 1 to 2 minutes, remove the tomatoes from the water and submerge them in the ice water bath. Peel the tomatoes-the skin should pull away easily. Grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater, or blend them in a food processor.
2.            Preheat a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until it is softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in the olive oil and when it is very hot, add the garlic. Sauté quickly, just until the garlic is golden, being careful not to let it burn.
3.            Add the wine to the pan and cook until it is reduced by about one-fifth.  Add the tomatoes, paprika, 2 cups water, and salt and pepper to taste. Boil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes to thicken the sauce.
4.            Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the Loi Kritharaki Orzo pasta until al dente, approximately 7-8 minutes.
5.            Drain the pasta and add it to the pot of tomato sauce, toss to combine, and allow the orzo to finish cooking.
6.            Transfer the Loi Kritharaki Orzo pasta to serving plates and garnish

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Arnaki Yiouvetsi - Lamb Shanks with Loi Kritharaki Orzo Pasta
Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 lamb shanks
Olive Oil, as needed
1 teaspoon Kyknos tomato paste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
8 cups water
Large pinch of Saffron (approximately 60 threads)
3 cups Loi Kritharaki Orzo pasta
1 ½ cups feta, crumbled

Method:

1.            To clean your lamb shanks: trim away any silverskin or thick deposits of fat.  Insert a paring knife along the bone near the top of the narrow end of the shank; slide the knife upwards to sever the tendon attached to this portion of the bone. Repeat as you work your way entirely around the bone.  Cutting the tendons like this allows the meat to shrink away from this part of the shank, making for a neater, more attractive presentation.
2.            In a small bowl, dilute tomato paste with olive oil, and stir to fully combine.
3.            Pat lamb shanks dry, and rub with tomato/olive oil mixture.  Season liberally with salt and pepper to taste.
4.            Preheat oven to 360 F. 
5.            Drizzle a large baking pan with some olive oil, add the chopped onion and tomato on top of the shanks, and bake in the pan for approximately 15 minutes, then rotate and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the meat is browned and tomato paste and onions have caramelized on the shanks.
6.            Add 7 cups of water, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and allow the shanks to braise for approximately 1 ½ hours, or until meat is soft and fork tender.
7.            While the meat is braising, take 1 cup of cold water, and add the saffron to allow it to steep.
8.            When shanks are tender, remove the aluminum foil, add the saffron infused-water (and threads) and Loi Kritharaki Orzo pasta, and bake for another 15 minutes.
9.            Add the feta on top, bake for another 5-7 minutes, and remove baking pan from the oven.
10.           Serve and enjoy!

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