Sunday, June 1, 2008

Orzo Salad with Peas, Red Onion, Basil and Mint

I was going to title today's post, "Bring Along Summer Salad, Take 2", but I was worried that you'd think I was suggesting making two bring-alongs.

The other idea I had was, "Orzo Salad - Death to Gluey Pasta!" But that sounded like it would make a better movie than blog post. You know the story, devilishly handsome super spy/chef, King Crab, battles evil kingpin Starch McGluten, all the while seducing beautiful temptress, Giada Delawantsit. I'm thinking Clooney for the King Crab role and maybe Angelina Jolie as Giada, or for that matter Giada as Giada. It'd make billions.

In the end I went with the basics. I love pasta salads, I hate how they get all gluey. How many times have you gone to spoon out some salad only to get one large clump? Or worse yet, you start to scoop and realize you need a ladle because it's swimming in "dressing"!?

Well here's a recipe from my future wife, Giada Delaurentiis, that isn't gluey or soupy. I've made one major change. I've substituted peas for garbanzo beans because I detest garbanzo beans. Hey, write your own blog if you love them so much!

Orzo with Peas, Red Onion, Basil & Mint
adapted from Giada's Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis

4 Cups Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth or Water
1 1/2 Cups Orzo (a rice shaped pasta)
1 Cup Thawed Frozen Peas (or (1) 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained)
1 1/2 Cups Red and/or Yellow teardrop or grape tomatoes
3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Red Onion
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Mint
3/4 Cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (see below)
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Bring the broth to a boil and add the orzo. Cook for approximately 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the orzo is tender but still firm (start checking after 5 minutes). Drain the orzo and transfer to a large bowl, tossing and stirring the orzo to help it cool quickly. Set aside to cool completely, (but do not refrigerate).

Mix the remaining dry ingredients with the cooled orzo. Add enough vinaigrette to evenly coat the salad, you may not need the entire 3/4 cup. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

from Giada's Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes approx 1 3/4 cups

1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons Honey
2 Teaspoons Salt
3/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a blender. With the machine running gradually add the oil. Taste the vinaigrette, if needed season with additional salt and pepper.

That's it. The only cooking involved is preparing the orzo. Sure there's some mixing of the vinaigrette but that's very easy. I've been known to add corn along with the peas and once added crumbled feta cheese (though I'd avoid that on a hot day if you're serving this outside).

Okay crablings, go forth and orzo, you can do it. You can cook!


Anonymous said...

Time for a second career. Food photography. Send your resume and portfolio out now!

Humming Paul Simon's Kodachrome as I type.


Anonymous said...

Daughter needed a Pea salad for work luncheon, I said "Pea salad? I don't eat pea salad, let alone know how to make one!" But I put together peas, orzo, celery, green onion, fresh parsley, basil, and mint with red wine vinagerette and parmesan on top. It was so good. The fresh herbs made it. I think person who asked daughter to bring pea salad had a southern salad in mind with eggs and mayo perhaps, but that just sounded yucky.