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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Orzo Salad

I'm a little embarrassed to post this recipe because it comes from Food Network celebrity chef Giada de Laurentis. I watch only Alton Brown if I watch Food Network so I'm not sure how I came upon this recipe. Although......one October about 10 years ago I got the flu before flu shots were available. I was so sick I couldn't even read. I remember that I watched Food Network since television offers little else of interest. Maybe that is when I was introduced to this recipe. Even though I shudder at the thoughts of celebrity chef recipes in general, I have found this salad to be a favorite whenever I serve it.

As you can see, the pasta is NOT orzo, but farfalline, the smallest pasta I had on hand when I made this, proof that substitutions can be made successfully. I advise going with a small pasta, however.


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Orzo Salad

Adapted from a recipe by Giada de Laurentis
Serves 5-6

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

Stir together the orzo and the broth in a saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the to a boil over medium-high heat. Leaving lid slightly open, simmer until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently. Drain the orzo. Transfer the orzo to a large bowl and stir until the orzo cools slightly. Allow to cool completely.

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.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 teas honey
1 teas salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c 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.

Notes:

I find that small yellow pear tomatoes are uniformly lacking in flavor. If you can find a yellow cherry or grape tomato it will taste better. The salad can be made, however, with any smaller tomato, or even chopped tomatoes.

If you think you'll have leftovers, separate what you'll be serving out and add tomatoes only to that portion. In my experience tomatoes get soggy after sitting in the fridge.

The vinaigrette makes a great dressing for any salad, so save the left overs.

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