28 January 2010

Braefoot Contessa Parties!

It think orzo is one of the most overlooked pasta out there. Out there in the universe of pastaland? Wherever.
It cooks quickly. It is a great alternative to rice. It is great in soups. There is just so much one can make with it and yet it sits on the shelf, just waiting for someone to take it home.

One person who takes it home is The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. You may not believe me but I know will trust Ina. She has a lovely recipe for orzo and veggies. It is a great dish and one can manipulate it to your hearts desire. (Add squashes in summer, maybe a diced tomato, you pick.) Just remember to add the orzo. This is a suggestion from Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

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
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo

For the dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pignolis, toasted
3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 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.

All we are saying is give orzo a chance.

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