Orzo Pilaf With Sun Dried Tomatoes And Saffron

1 1/2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes* (1/2 of a 3 oz. package)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup orzo pasta*
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 onion red or yellow, chopped
½ cup water reserved from sun dried tomatoes or ½ cup water or dry white wine
2 teaspoons chicken base or bouillon
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil – optional
cooking spray

. If sun dried tomatoes are not ready to eat and must be reconstituted, bring 1 cup water to boil and remove from heat. Pour boiling water over dried tomatoes and soak for 10 minutes. Remove tomatoes from water, saving 1/2 cup of the liquid. Cut tomatoes into thin strips and set aside. (If tomatoes are ready to eat set aside ½ cup water or ½ cup white dry wine.)

2. Cook orzo in 6 to 8 cups boiling water for 12 to 14 minutes, until al dente. Drain and rinse orzo and set aside.

3. Pour a ¼ cup of reserved tomato water, water or wine into a separate glass container and heat in microwave for about 1 minute. Stir bouillon, saffron and olive oil into hot liquid and set aside.

4. Spray a large non-stick or stick-resistant pan lightly with cooking spray and preheat on medium for 2 minutes. Add onions and garlic to pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes continuing to sauté until onions become translucent. If necessary, during cooking add small amounts of remaining water or wine to vegetable mixture to keep it from drying out.

5. Add orzo to tomato and onion mixture a third at a time, so that pasta separates and mixes with vegetables. Add saffron liquid to pasta, mixing all ingredients together. Stirring frequently, continue to cook a few minutes more until heated through. Remove orzo from heat and serve or cover until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 cups or 8 1/2-cup servings at approximately 105 calories; 1 gram total fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 milligram cholesterol; 19 grams carbohydrate; 1.7 grams dietary fiber; 4.4 grams protein; 350 milligrams sodium.

*Sun-dried tomatoes can be found in specialty food sections of most major supermarkets as well as health food and specialty cooking stores. Most stores have ready to eat dried tomatoes that do not need to be softened before use.

*Orzo is a small rice shaped Greek pasta available in most supermarkets.

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