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Cozy Orzo

1 lb. cottage cheese; room-temperature
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/4 cup minced chives; or scallions
• 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
• black pepper; to taste
• 1/2 lb. Orzo; (rice-shaped pasta)
• 1 cup frozen peas
• Grated pecorino cheese; or Parmesan cheese, for the top
Combine the cottage cheese, salt, chives or scallions, lemon zest and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.

Cook the orzo in plenty of rapidly boiling water until it is tender. Place the peas in a colander in the sink, and drain the pasta right onto the peas (this will defrost the peas and cook them slightly). Shake off the excess water, transfer the orzo and peas to the cottage cheese mixture, and stir gently. Sprinkle with grated pecorino or Parmesan, and serve warm or at room temperature in bowls.

Serves 4, or more as a side. PER SERVING: 341 calories, 3.3 g fat, 8.7%

"When I was a child," says Katzen, "one of my favorite comfort foods was a dish my mother called Noodles and Cheese. Although it was just some plain pasta mixed with cottage cheese and a little sour cream, it had a magical, calming effect on me. I make a slightly more adult version now, which is a little fancier, but equally comforting."

Karen Bencke from WGNV writes: My sister makes this recipe from Mollie Katzen, author of the Moosewood Cookbook; it's one of my favorite comfort foods. She made it for us over the weekend; her addition is to add a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Delicious! Mollie Katzen is a well known author in the vegetarian circuit. Her Moosewood Cookbook is a best seller and a must have for anyone with a family member who's a vegetarian.

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