- 4 cups water
- kosher salt
- 3/4 cup orzo
- 1/2 cup onion, 1/4 inch dice
- 1/4 cup eggplant, 1/4inch dice
- 1/4 cup zucchini, 1/4 inch dice
- oven-dried tomatoes (optional)
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (from about 1 ounce cheese), at room temperature
- black pepper in a mill
- 8 lamb loin chops, 3 to 3 1/2 ounces each, trimmed of any excess fat or sinew
- Parsely Pistou (recipe follows)
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- 12/3 cup olive oil
- 1-3/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Pour the water into a 3-quart stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, approximately 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in an 8-inch saute pan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
- Transfer the onion to a bowl and wipe out the pan.
- Add another tablespoon oil and cook the eggplant over medium-high heat until softened, approximately 8 minutes. Add the eggplant to the bowl with the onion and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the zucchini and tomatoes, if using, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
- When the orzo is ready, use a Pyrex measuring cup to scoop out about 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Drain orzo and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the goat cheese and about 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid. Mix together with a wooden spoon to melt the cheese into an emulsified mixture.
- Gently stir in the vegetables and tomatoes and season with salt and 6 grinds of pepper, or to taste. Cover and keep warm.
- Prepare an outdoor grill for grilling, letting the coals burn down until covered with white ash.
- Rub the lamb pieces with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season on both sides with salt and 5 grinds of pepper, or to taste. Cook the lamb partially covered over medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes per side for rare to medium-rare. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steaks will read 120 degrees to 125 degrees F.)
- Remove from Grill. To serve, divide the orzo among 4 dinner plates. Place two chops on top of the orzo on each plate and drizzle with parsley pistou over and around the lamb.
- Pick and wash the parsley leaves and dry them in a clean, dry cloth.
- Put the parsley, oil, garlic and salt in a blender and pulse to combine. It should remain a bit chunky and leafy; do not overmix it into a smooth paste.
- Stir in the cheese and set aside. This pistou can be kept, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.