This is a recipe from the years before I discovered I had Type II diabetes, which meant thereafter that I would have to cut ’way down on my carbohydrate intake per meal. The dish is like risotto but made with orzo rather than rice. I could have called it orzo-otto, but I dislike hyphenated names, when I can avoid them. The advantage of orzo over rice is that you don’t have to observe the ritualistic practice by which it is made, with slow, constant stirring and addition of broth, as with risotto. The disadvantage is that you miss the traditional ritual of slowly stirring and adding broth to the pot.

I now approximate commercial orzo by cracking up lower G. I. pasta (usually elbow macaroni) into rice-sized pieces. It looks a little funny, but tastes great!

  • ½ cup lower G. I. "orzo"
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup green peas, frozen
  • 1 oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced, stems discarded
  • ½ lb turkey Italian sausage, cooked and in ½” dice
  • ¼ tsp <salt>
  • ¼ tsp pepper, freshly ground
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Poach the orzo in the stock and wine for 10 minutes, until it is al dente. Drain the orzo, reserving the liquid. Add the peas to the reserved liquid and cook per packaged directions until done. Drain the peas, discarding the liquid.

In a separate utensil, sauté the scallions and garlic until translucent. Add the mushrooms, sausage, and seasonings and continue cooking until mushrooms are limp. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

Serves 2.


Picadillo is an entrée in South America and Cuba whose texture is similar to chili, but is usually served over rice. My version substitutes TVP for ground beef, and should be served in bowls, like a stew. But you can also add boiled rice if your blood glucose level will allow it.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • <salt> and pepper to taste

In a heavy pan, sauté the onion, green pepper, and garlic in the oil until soft. Reconstitute the TVP in the beef broth in a 2 cup glass bowl in a microwave for 1 minute on high. Let the TVP rest about 3-4 minutes, then add it to the onion mixture. Add the tomatoes, cumin, and capers and bring to a simmer. Check the seasonings and thickness. Add more broth if considered too thin for a chili.