Friday, May 11, 2012

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Pasta salad is my go-to potluck dish. I make it light, fresh, and colorful, so it is always a crowd pleaser.  I was getting a little tired of my old recipe and found this one.

Chop up the veggies, toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 40 minutes.

Mix it with the cooked pasta and dressing and add the toppings:

Sliced scallions:

Toasted pine nuts. (I toast them in a small pan on the stove. Watch them and flip often because they burn easily. It takes less than 5 minutes.)

Cubed feta cheese.

Julienned basil leaves.

Mix it all up and you are done :)

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
(printable version)

The original recipe calls for ½ pound of orzo, but I don’t like having half packages of pasta leftover in the cupboard, so I just make all of it. We eat it throughout the week and I am pretty sure that Ryan would eat the entire bowl of it if I let him. Even though I doubled the pasta, I didn’t really have to adjust the rest of the recipe that much. I also chose not to peel the eggplant because I like the purple color in the salad. Be sure to cut the pieces to 1-inch cubes because if you cut them too small they will burn while roasting (trust me on that one..)


1 medium-large eggplant, 1-inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup good olive oil
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing:
Overflowing ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 juicy lemons)
Overflowing ⅓ cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
5 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
⅓ cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
8 ounces feta, ½-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for about 40 minutes, until browned, turning halfway through with a spatula.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, add a handful of salt, and cook the orzo 7 to 9 minutes (I prefer it al dente). Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the slightly cooled roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings (unless you have burned bits) from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the cooled pasta and vegetables. Then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

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