In a 1- to 2-quart saucepan, bring the chicken broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer over medium-high heat.
In a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns goldenbrown and smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo and stir with a wooden spoon to coat well. Cook until the orzo just begins to turn a light golden color, about 2 minutes.
Pour in the wine and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the simmering broth mixture, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the orzo is just tender, about 12 minutes; the mixture may still be wet but will set up.
Stir the orzo, season to taste with salt and a generous amount of pepper, and mix in the Parmigiano. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Add the chives (if using) and serve.
Vary the flavor by adding basil and toasted pine nuts, sautéed mushrooms and thyme, or peas, mint, and a squeeze of lemon.
nutrition information (per serving):
8, Fat Calories
70, Saturated Fat
9, Monounsaturated Fat
33, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips