Thursday, March 13, 2008

Orzo Late

"Orzo" late, like "oh, so late..." Yeah, I know, it's a bit corny.

It was 9pm when we got back home to see our friends- Kevin, Holly and their kids- off at the airport. They left for Capetown, South Africa today, to do missions work. Lord willing, we'll see them again in 3 years-- yes, in 3 years, if they don't decide to stay there.

My husband was surprised that I started preparing this dish as soon as we got home, but I guess, I just wanted to get my mind off from missing my friends. So, late as it was, I decided to do this pasta salad for our lunch the next day. It's really simple, the only cooking involved is the pasta. Orzo is this rice-shaped pasta as you can see in the photo. I've done this salad before, so I made this from memory, but the recipe I got from Foodnetwork's Giada de Laurentiis.

Orzo Salad
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups red and yellow teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
About 3/4 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a heavy large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo.
2. Cover partially and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes.
3. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer to a large wide bowl and toss. Set aside to cool completely.
4. Toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.
Yield: 1 3/4 cups

What I did different was adding a basil-infused olive oil to my pasta. It intensified the flavor of basil even more and the combination with mint and basil was fabulous! Also, I didn't use the yellow tear drop tomatoes (as you see in the photo) since they're not available in my grocery store.

I tossed the salad with the dressing just before eating the next day. Uhhhhmmn.. what a nice little lunch. The salad is even better eaten if tossed with grilled chicken or fish (tuna or salmon, maybe).

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