There's just something about orzo that I love. I only recently started cooking with it, but now I find myself searching for recipes that incorporate it. I found this one on Sarah's blog, A Taste of Home Cooking and was drawn right in. I took some of Sarah's remarks on the recipe into consideration while cooking and made some changes. Instead of fresh chopped tomatoes I used a can of Italian-flavored diced tomatoes to give it a stronger tomato flavor. I also used two types of sausage - two links of spicy Italian turkey sausage and two links of Parmesan pecorino romano chicken sausage. I recommend using the red pepper - the little kick is nice. I really liked this dish! It was creamy and a little spicy and just plain good.
Orzo with Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 links (7 ounces total) mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 plum tomatoes, chopped (I used a can of diced tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth and 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey sausage and sauté until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes (if using) to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Add the sausage mixture, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to combine, adding the reserved cooking liquid if needed to loosen the pasta. Top with the Parmesan and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.