The recipe: Orzo with yogurt and lemon

The ingredients: butter, onions, bay leaves, orzo pasta, scallions, Greek yogurt, lemons

The book: American Flavor, by Andrew Carmellini

Why I tried it:  I was running late one night and needed to punt when it came to dinner, so I decided to look for the simplest possible recipe I could find from one of the season’s new books.  This was pretty much it.  I saw that it had butter and scallions, and since scallions simmered in butter is one of my favorite ways to start any recipe, I was sold.  As I soon discovered, the scallions never get simmered in butter in this recipe at all.  But by then it was too late, and anyway it was obviously turning out delicious anyway.

Why I love it:  I’m almost embarrassed to be so crazy about this recipe, because it’s so dang easy.  (Then again, I also love those meatballs you have to make with a zillion pots, which makes up for it I guess.)  I love the way you use Greek yogurt to make a cream sauce without cream.  The technique’s totally different from the way you usually make pasta, too.  No boiling and draining, which seems to leave the orzo slimy right after being cooked and glue-tacky 30 seconds later.  It’s made like a risotto, which seems to do wonders for the texture.  And at the end there’s a manic dose of lemon to tie it all together.