July 5, 2011

Orzo You Glad I Didn't Say Risotto?

courtesy of recipetips.com
Just a few posts ago, I was patting myself on the back for narrowly dodging the perils of pasta and potato salads (carbs, saturated fats, etc.), so synonymous with summer, holiday get-togethers.  All I've ever asked for from my pasta salads, whether homemade or restaurant-made, no matter the season, is that I get as little oil and as much veg as possible.

However, between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, I have met two orzo salads I have loved and felt the need to evangelize on the merits of these dishes.  (Neither require much in the way of oils and both ask for fresh veggies, so with all apologies to my buddy Ben, here are two recipes that fall into the category of pasta salads.)

Actually, forget the evangelizing.  Try one of these and see for yourself.  Holy Yummy.  Of course, experiment and improvise at will.

From Darla in Cleveland, OH:

1lb orzo
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes sliced
1 cup tightly packed fresh spinach leaves cut into strips
1/2 red onion chopped
1 small red bell pepper chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup roasted pine nuts

Cook orzo as directed. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Add balsamic vinegar and stir well. Add basil, tomatoes, spinach, onions, red bell pepper, salt, pepper, and evoo. Toss well. Refrigerate until serving.

From Hogan's Restaurant, Rochester, NY (verbatim):

grape tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, a lil shallots, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, pinch of sugar

{From what I recall, the tomatoes were halved, the cucumbers were diced, the mint was bountiful, the shallots modest, and the vinegar/sugar ratio seemed evenly balanced--I tried hard not to lick the plate in public.}

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