Friday, February 24, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Pasta

Truly, as I get ready to type up this recipe, I am salivating. I have never been one to try new recipes. Thanks to my mom, who cooked only on special occasions (and quite well I might add, it's too bad she didn't give it a go more often), I had a limited range of foods on my acceptable list. My poor friends, who have much more developed palates than I, would have to suffer going out to dinner with me, watching me order the most common items on the menu. Not only that, but this was pre-Vixen days. I would order items with meat, and unknowingly push all of the meat in the dish off to the side. They give me crap about this every time we go's true. But kudos to my friend Danielle who is always pushing the envelope when it comes to trying and cooking new foods. She is a talented cook and this recipe is one she made for a girl's night outing...I have made it many times since, mixing it up here and there. I am not one for following recipes, (or rules for that matter but that will have to wait for another post) so I often like to mix up ingredients to see how they taste. If you like this recipe, try it with olive tapenade instead of the olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Amazingly salty and sweet at the same time. This salad is delectable when served alone or with a hard roll...enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Pasta

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4 inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1 inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 inch diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and 1 inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb orzo pasta
For the dressing
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
To assemble
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 lb good feta or mozzarella cheese, 1/2 inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  4. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
  5. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables.
  6. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil.
Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

1 comment:

  1. I second the salivating! I LOVE this recipe! Will be making it for Memorial weekend with the family to test it on others. Yum!