Saturday, July 3, 2010

Deliciousness with Roasted Veggies

My friend, Naphtali, introduced me to orzo pasta at her parents' home when her parents lived in Camp Hill, PA. This past spring, she made this orzo dish for me here in Charlotte, and I was IN LOVE. It's easy to make, but it does take a little time in the kitchen. The nice thing is that you serve it room temperature, so you can make it ahead. This dish would be great for a women's luncheon or as a side dish at a cookout. I have tweaked it to be suitable to ME! ;)

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
originally by Ina Garten of Food Network

(It reallllllllly needs a more catchy and appealing name.)

Ingredients:1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
(Options: I added summer yellow squash & zucchini. Don't skip the eggplant, if possible.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta (do not overcook)

Dressing:1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble: 4 scallions (green onions), minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted (optional)
3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
(Option: Add plum tomatoes sliced in half, grilled chicken, or shrimp.)

Directions: 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 35 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 8 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

I added chicken but left out the pine nuts and served this dish for lunch.
This recipe fed approx. 6 women.

Everyone wanted the recipe, just like I did after eating it at Naphtali's house.
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