email printOrzo with Roasted Vegetables

Do you need a side dish to bring to a pal’s 4th of July party stat?!  Here it is! I’ve shared this recipe with many a folk.  It’s a crowd pleaser (always).  It’s a simple recipe and when everyone digs in you will get asked for the recipe by at least 2 people, and you will feel cool for a brief moment in your adult life, and then you may think of me and say “wow, that Tiffany really knows what she’s talking about.  I heart her.”.  I’ve used it for BBQ’s, baby showers, pot lucks, family gatherings and it’s one of husband’s favorites.  (Of course it’s one of Barefoot Contessa’s recipes….heeee……) The recipe looks long!  Don’t you worry your purdy little head, lots of goods go into it, but it’s a breeze.  If you want to look like a domestic Goddess (or God) give it a go. 

The one thing I do different (and I believe was actually noted on her show) is to make the dressing while your orzo cooks.  When you drain the orzo, pour it into the bowl with the dressing.  This will allow the orzo to soak up the dressing.  Do me a favor….watch the darn pine nuts as you toast those puppies.  I swear to goodness, I’ve burned so many pine nuts in my life.  It’s so easy to try and multi-task as they go, but they are so easy to forget.  You start to smell the deep roasted aroma and you are too late my friend.  Dead pine nuts.  Please don’t kill your pine nuts.  Thank you.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 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 or rice-shaped pasta

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 (pine nuts), toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

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.

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.

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