Recipe Road Test: "Milk Street Fast and Slow" Lemony Orzo with Chicken and Arugula

Seira Wilson on April 28, 2020

Recipe Road Test:

It seems counterintuitive but working from home has not created more time to make dinner, so I recently got Christopher Kimball's new cookbook, Milk Street Fast and Slow: Instant Pot Cooking at the Speed You Need. I really like this cookbook because I can decide how much time I (realistically) have and choose a recipe that fits—and honestly, they all look good. I actually ordered Milk Street Fast and Slow as a Kindle book, a first for me with cookbooks, and it worked beautifully on my tablet. 

So, let's get to the recipe, shall we?  Lemony Orzo with Chicken and Arugula. The instructions are really clear for settings and time, most of the ingredients are pantry staples so I only needed to pick up a couple of fresh items, and the resulting dish is the perfect one-pot meal.

LemonyChickenOrzo_Mine.jpgI had an herbed feta in my fridge so I used that on top; the saltiness of feta adds to the overall flavor, and the dish tastes wonderfully bright. You can also make substitutions for the feta or arugula, so it's really two recipes in one. The photo at right is how mine turned out.

Here's the recipe from Milk Street Fast and Slow: Instant Pot Cooking at the Speed You Need*

*An editors' pick for the best cookbooks of April



Orzo means “barley” in Italian, but it also is the name of the pasta that resembles grains of rice. In this dish, we’ve paired orzo with chicken and greens, turning it into a light but complete one-pot meal. Feel free to substitute an equal amount of baby spinach for the arugula. And if you prefer tangy, creamy fresh goat cheese (chèvre) to briny feta, it’s also a delicious way to top the pasta.
Don’t use chicken breasts instead of thighs, as the meat will end up tough and dry. But don’t cut the thighs into pieces larger than ¾ inch or they may not fully cook.

Active time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 cup orzo pasta
1¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup chopped fresh mint
3 cups lightly packed baby arugula (about 2 ounces), roughly chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Crumbled feta cheese, to serve

START: On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select More/High Sauté. Add the oil, onion and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost fully evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, orzo and broth; stir to combine, then distribute in an even layer. 

FAST: Press Cancel, lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 6 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, quick-release the steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.

FINISH: Stir the mixture to combine, then re-cover without locking the lid in place and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the mint, arugula and lemon zest and juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with feta.


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