Caramelized Eggplant & Onion Orzo

YUMYIN Eggplant Onion Orzo.jpeg

Adapted from theKitchn.com

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes ; cooking time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces orzo pasta (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more to coat pasta
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup YUMYIN
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small bell peppers, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablepoon balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until barely al dente, about 6 to 7 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain, then drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss so that the grains of orzo are lightly coated; set aside.
     
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10- or 12-inch straight-sided sauté or frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant and arrange them in a single layer; season lightly with salt. Sauté until golden-brown and softened, 6 to 7 minutes.
     
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and push the eggplant up in a pile against one half of the pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the center of the pan. 
     
  4. Add the YUMYIN, peppers and tomatoes to the hot center of the pan. Sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vinegar and sauté for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
     
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the orzo gradually, shaking in a cup at a time, and stirring and scraping constantly. Cook, letting the orzo get browned on the bottom of the pan, then scraping it up to lightly toast the pasta, for about 5 minutes.
     
  6. Remove from the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the basil and serve immediately, sprinkling Parmesan shavings on top of each bowl, if using.