Lamb Meatballs with Orzo and Asparagus

Oh, hey, Monday. How’ve you been?

I wasn’t trying to avoid you. I totally didn’t see you standing there. I had something in my eye.

Something like sleep. Some leftover from a weekend I thought I had but that slipped out before I even knew it was gone.

And now here we are. Awkwardly facing off one more time.

It’s happened before. But about ten years ago, that awkwardness was due to jet lag or post race exhaustion or even the occasional hangover. Although you well know, I have never been able to stay up long past nine, so those usually didn’t have a chance to happen.

Now? Now there seems to be a lot more post race and post workout exhaustion than there used to be. Now the bones creak and snap a little more than they used to. Now, a night of running upstairs to check on a teething baby replaces a night of bingeing shows with the husband.

Although you’d better believe that when the small one is asleep, we’re catching up on Game of Thrones.

So it’s only fitting that we meet with a fresh and easy meal that you can prep beforehand, one that’s packed with the nutrients you need and pretty lean to boot.

One that you can cook up in a hurry when you get home from work and enjoy with a glass of wine and your significant other as you rehash thoughts about the last episode of Game of Thrones you watched together.

No one will ever need to know that you both fell asleep right after the episode and didn’t have a chance to discuss it.

Isn’t that one of the built in benefits of being older parents with a baby?

If you’re tired, always blame the baby. Not age. It has to be the baby.

Anyway, you can mix together the components of these meatballs and store them in your fridge or freezer so that they’re ready to go. Just heat them up, then add orzo and fresh asparagus, and you’re good to go.

Lamb Meatballs with Orzo and Asparagus

Serves 4.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • bunch asparagus
  • 12 oz ground lamb
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 oz orzo
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It:

1. Preheat your oven to 425F. Bring a medium pot of water to boil over high heat. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Peel and chop the shallot and garlic. Roughly chop the pine nuts and parsley. Halve and zest the lemon. Rinse the asparagus and trim and discard the woody ends, and cut the spears into 1/2 inch chunks. Pat the lamb dry with a paper towel.

3. In a large bowl, combine the shallot, garlic, pine nuts, half of the parsley, lamb, ground cumin, bread crumbs, tomato paste, and egg. Season with salt and pepper. Mix by hand until combined.

4. Form the lamb into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven until cooked through, about 17 minutes.

5. While the lamb is roasting, add the orzo and a pinch of salt to the boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

6. While you’re juggling all this, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Add the asparagus, lemon zest, crumbled goat cheese, and 1 tbsp olive oil to the orzo in the bowl. Toss to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

8. Divide the orzo and meatballs evenly among four plates. Garnish with the remaining parsley, squeeze over the lemon juice, and serve!

Okay, so spill the beans, fellow GoT watchers! What do YOU think of the season so far?

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