I made this delicious grain dish with one of my favorite chefs, and dear friend, Chef Gioacchino Nocera from Bosco de Medici vineyard in Pompeii. He and I made it on my show and while I worked with him on it, I may not have it exactly as he did it. But here is my version.
1 cup orzo
2 cups spring or filtered water
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 small fennel bulb, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
6-8 asparagus tips, trimmed
fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
Bring water to a boil and add orzo and a pinch of salt. Return to the boil and cover; reduce heat and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
While the orzo cooks, bring another pot of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and begin cooking the vegetables separately. Cook carrot for 2-3 minutes; drain and cook zucchini for 2-3 minutes, drain. Finally cook asparagus tips for 2 minutes; drain and set aside. Mix the cooked vegetables (except asparagus) with the onion and fennel.
When the orzo is done, mix the vegetables in along with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Serve garnished with fresh basil and asparagus tips.