Orzo with Mushrooms, Hazelnuts, Parsley, and Tofu

This was a recipe that I wanted to make on Friday with white beans, but after coming home a bit late from work, I decided my original Thursday night recipe (including brown rice) would take too long. Adaptation! I decided to toast the orzo a bit and then cook it in loads of water and it added a nice nutty flavor to the orzo.

Orzo with Mushrooms, Hazlenuts, Parsley, and Tofu

Cooking Soundtrack: Bjork – Live Box


Tofu Marinade (Phil’s creation, not sure about portions, but a lil bit of this and that)

Rice Vinegar
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce (just a small dash)
Agave Nectar
Crushed Red Pepper
White Pepper

The Rest of the Stuff

1 block of extra-firm tofu

1 cup orzo

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp fennel seeds

8 white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1.5 cups chopped parsley

handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts with skins rubbed off

squeeze of lemon

salt & pepper

To Do:

First, squeeze out as much water as you can from the tofu. Cut into thirds lengthwise and then into triangles. Heat a nonstick pan and put the tofu in the pan (no oil, nothing). This will help dry out the tofu and enable it to absorb the marinade better. Cook on both sides and press down with a spatula until the tofu looks toasted and dry. While it’s cooking whip up the marinade. Put all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork. Place dried-out tofu in a pan and cover with marinade. The longer you soak the tofu, the more flavorful it will be (I only did it for about 20 minutes though).

While the tofu is marinating, heat up the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Sautee the garlic and fennel seeds over medium heat and then add the orzo. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until orzo is toasty. Add a whole lot of water and some salt. Cook until al dente (about 7-8 minutes). Drain (reserve some liquid in a cup) and cover to keep it warm.

Finish up with the mushrooms while the orzo is cooking. Heat up a tiny bit of olive oil (I have an olive oil spray bottle and just used a quick spray) – you don’t need much because mushrooms contain a lot of moisture. Sautee the mushrooms until they’re a lovely brown color and squeeze a bit of lemon juice if they appear to stick to the pan. Add some salt and pepper to the mix. If the orzo is still cooking, steal a bit of the pasta water and add it to the mushrooms. If you already drained the orzo, use some of the pasta water you saved. The mushrooms should be browned and reduced in size.

Toss the orzo, parsley, mushrooms and hazlenuts (toast them in oven or toaster oven and use dishtowel to rub off skins) together. Add more lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Top with slices of the tofu. Eat!