Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Awesome orzo

Orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, is the star ingredient in a couple of my favorite side dishes that are great to serve in the spring and summer.
   Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta and Green Onions, from Bon Appetit magazine, and Orzo with Feta, Tomatoes and Dill from Gourmet magazine are terrific alongside chicken and pork.
   Both dishes are very easy to make, and generally family friendly. Only the very youngest of gourmands may not take to them.
   They are both very portable and can be served at room temperature, and so are terrific to take along to a backyard party.

Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta and Green Onions (click here for the recipe)
This recipe was created by Giada De Laurentiis for a featured spring menu in the April 2006 issue of Bon Appetit.
   Fresh basil is absolutely key to its success.
   To make it, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey and olive oil are whisked together in a small bowl.
   Orzo is boiled in chicken broth, drained and then tossed frequently until cool. This last part is important: make sure the orzo has cooled before you continue adding ingredients to it.
   Halved teardrop or grape tomatoes, cubed feta cheese, chopped fresh basil and the vinaigrette are added to the orzo and tossed to coat. Toasted pine nuts are scattered over top.
   This dish is served at room temperature.

Orzo with Feta, Tomatoes and Dill (click here for the recipe)
This recipe, from the late, great Gourmet magazine, is one of my husband’s faves. He especially likes it the next day, when the flavours have developed a little more, but it’s fine to serve on the day it’s made.
   One tip about this recipe: It doesn’t specify to let the orzo pasta cool after it’s been boiled. I let it completely cool, as is done in the top recipe, to make sure the final product has a cold pasta salad appeal. It tastes best this way.
   Oil, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped dill, grated lemon zest and salt and pepper are combined and left to stand for least 10 minutes.
   The orzo is boiled until al dente, drained, (let it cool!), and tossed with the tomato mixture. Crumbled feta is added and everything is tossed again.

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