Monday, July 2, 2012

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

So, a few weeks ago I was grocery shopping with my girls and we were in the produce department. I always love to point out things to them to see if they know what they are (and if they don't, I school them right then and there!). Anyway,my older daughter was walking by the cooler section and saw eggplant and her eyes lit up. She turned to me and begged me to get one. Eggplant? Huh, you want me to get eggplant? I'm all for letting my kids experiment with any fruits and veggies they want so I decided to get a small one. (Then my daughter proceeded to carry the eggplant around the store like it was her baby...hmmm.)

I had been eying a few ratatouille recipes that I wanted to make with the eggplant, you know like the one from the movie, but I couldn't find the right recipe that just struck a chord with me. Then I remembered this orzo dish my mom sent me a few years ago. It's a Ina Garten recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook. It's fabulous, just like everything Ina makes.

I decided to vamp up the veg factor and this turned out even better than I had remembered! I love roasting vegetables to bring out their flavors and even thought about doing it on the grill so I wouldn't have to turn on my oven. So, if you have a veggie tray for your grill that would be a great option too.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
2 small zucchini
8 oz, mushrooms, quartered or sliced
1 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 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 olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
4 green onions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 pound feta, 1/2-inch diced
5 oz. baby spinach, chopped
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 20-30 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, pine nuts, feta, spinach and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

SOURCE: Adapted from Ina Garten

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