Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Orzo Salad

It is full on barbecue season!  Days are long and filled with activity.  Vegetables and fruits are fresh and juicy.  And yet, I have a tendency to forget about food during the summer months.  Maybe it's because it does stay light so late.  By the time it's dark, it's bedtime.

So, I either throw something together really quickly or order takeout.  It's really a shame because then I'll spend all winter wishing I had the fresh, brightly colored veggies of the summer.
The exception is really when people are coming over.  And then, you have to make a lot of stuff.  Stuff that can be made ahead of time.  And if you're like me, you're really terrified someone is going to get sick because of the food that you made.  For that, I recommend you stay away from mayonnaise-based salads when you're going to be sitting outside for hours (or when the time could slip away from you).

So basically, this orzo salad is the answer to all your barbecue woes, whether hosting or attending.  As a side dish, this recipe could easily serve 12 and while it's best kept cool, no one is going to die from warm tomatoes and pasta.

ORZO SALAD (serves 12 as a side)
Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis
4 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. orzo
1 - 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved (I used mini heirlooms)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 c. red onion, chopped
1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c. fresh mint, chopped
salt & pepper
Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
1 c. olive oil

1.  Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in orzo and cover partially to allow steam to escape.  Cook for about 7 minutes - until pasta is al dente.  Strain and move to a large mixing bowl to cool completely.

2.  Once the pasta has cooled, stir in beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, basil, mint and season with salt and pepper.

3.  In a jar with a good seal, combine all vinaigrette ingredients and shake well to combine.  Pour over pasta salad and mix together.  You may not need to use the whole amount prepared - I used about 3/4 of the jar.

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