1/2 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
2 small to medium zucchini, cut into thin disks
1 small yellow onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Coarse black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons store-bought green or black olive tapenade, any brand
8 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick loin lamb chops
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the orzo. Add a generous amount of salt to the water and cook the orzo al dente, with a bite to it.
Preheat the broiler to high.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the zucchini, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the zucchini are lightly caramelized.
Combine the soft butter with the olive tapenade and reserve in the refrigerator.
Arrange the lamb chops on a slotted broiler pan. Drizzle EVOO over the chops and season with salt and pepper. Broil the chops for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare, 5 minutes for well done. Squeeze lemon juice over them.
Add the cooked drained orzo to the browned zucchini and onions, then stir in the lemon zest, parsley, and grated cheese. Toss to distribute.
Remove the chops from the broiler and the butter from the refrigerator. Top each chop with a little olive butter. Serve the chops with the caramelized zucchini orzo.
This is one of the most delicious meals I've had in a long time. I think the key (besides the natural tenderness of the lamb chops) is that I made my own olive tapenade: a little olive oil, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and garlic finely chopped in the food processor with about 10 green olives. It was perfect! The only negative to this meal was that the zucchini was so soft it was mushy. Maybe next time I will saute the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and zucchini. The only thing I changed was Parmegiano-Reggiano to regular Parmesan, and I reduced the amount of lamb chops from 12 to 8. I only made half the recipe. I'm pretty sure my lamb was thicker than it was supposed to be, so I broiled it for 10 minutes on each side for well done. It was perfect.