orzo with porcini pesto

as a kid and all of my teen years, i used to be a full-fledged vegetarian. meat wasn’t really welcome on my plate. instead, i loved everything raw and with veggies (and cakes, and cookies, and chocolate, but let’s forget that for a while…). i enjoyed healthy meals. during my tweens i started to incorporate meat again. not because i particularly liked it, but because it felt more socially acceptable. also, because of the vegetarian’s lifestyle… sorry, i don’t mean to be racist (or maybe i do) but vegetarian, still today, is somewhat associated badly, in my mind. you know, of the home-knitted-socks kind. with a bible in their hand. with wrinkles, because they’re also firm believers that moisturizers are evil…
still, if i’m completely honest, i am a vegetarian, of sorts. at least a part time vegetarian. not because i dislike meat – but because i love vegs (big difference). i eat meat occasionally, and occasionally i like it. but what surprises me is that so many people in my network are mainly vegetarians, too. and i think it’s a good development. let alone it reassures me in my vision for the fork and flower supper club – namely that it does not have to be meatfree, but vegetable centred.
to go meat-free is not only great for the benefit it has on the environment (and let’s be honest no meat lover would really cancel meat for this sole reason) – but also for personal health-benefits. it means vegetarian cuisine will improve over the next few decades, i’m certain of that. and i like to think i’m in this movement to help shape it, too.
in fact, i would like to tap more into the ‘raw’ cuisine, which doesn’t mean just ‘raw’ as in uncooked but with natural, unprocessed ingredients, allergen-free and basically free of anything that isn’t good for you. so instead of using sugar, you’d be using raw honey. i believe it will have an impact on my health, and i’m quite keen to test it on me. also, my sister in law who’s really not well would profit from this, too. i think i’ll tackle my inner vegetarian, vegan and raw-enthusiast for her. is anyone of you people out there a raw-expert who can give me some beginner’s advice?
so, this isn’t a exactly the showcase vegetarian dish (i know, don’t think i’m perfect). i mean it’s pretty bland as vegetarian goes, only pasta-schmasta. i promise to be more dedicated in the future. actually, i’ve got a vision of my next next supper club, and it will be something with miniature vegs that look like landscapes. you know, noma style. (yes, high goals). for now, just be happy with vegetarian basics, like pasta and pesto with a bit of a twist, will you? 
orzo with porcini pesto
for 2 people
1 cup orzo or other mini pasta
2 cups dried porcini + boiling water
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
1 small onion, chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lemon, zest
1 tsp. fleur de sel
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
start by cooking the orzo in salted water. drain and let cool under running ice cold water (i think this dish is better cold than hot) and then add some olive oil to prevent stickiness. put aside. in the meantime, soak the dried porcini in enough boiling water to cover them for 10 minutes. drain, catching some of the porcini soaking water for later. combine the porcini, garlic, pine nutes, lemon zest and onion in a food processor, add 1-2 tbsp. of the porcini water, the olive oil and a generous pinch of fleur de sel and pepper. pulse a few times until you have a coarse paste. season to taste, maybe add a splash of lemon juice or chili flakes. coat the orzo with a spoonful of the porcini pesto. then arrange the orzo on a plate and put another spoonful of the porcini pesto in the middle. serve at room temperature or cold (for once).

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