Thursday, July 23, 2009

Orzo with Grilled Summer Vegetables and Pesto Vinaigrette

I don't think I even need to tell you again how much I love pasta salads, especially those made with orzo! My cousin Michael invited Chuck and me over for dinner and asked us to bring a side dish. So when I saw this recipe for an orzo salad, I printed it out right away and changed it a bit for what I needed.

As you can see here, I did not grill the zucchini (or the peppers for that matter) on the actual grill, since I was home by myself and didn't really want to turn it on. My grill pan did a very nice job, and you could use a Foreman grill or panini press as well if that's what you have.

This salad is nice at room temperature but you should definitely leave some time to chill it beforehand so that the flavors meld together. Enjoy this summery, fresh-tasting pasta salad!

Orzo with Grilled Summer Vegetables and Pesto Vinaigrette
adapted from
Makes 6-8 side dish servings

8 ounces orzo
4 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
1 large zucchini, halved and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices (just cut it so that it's easy to grill)
1 red bell pepper, quartered
2 1/2 tablespoons pesto
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
4-6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add orzo and cook until al dente, 8-9 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.

Heat grill to medium-high heat, or heat a grill pan to medium-high. (If you use the grill pan, add a little olive oil to the pan.) Whisk 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar in small bowl. Brush zucchini and bell pepper on both sides with oil mixture, season with salt and pepper. Grill 3-4 minutes per side for zucchini and 4-5 minutes per side for pepper. Remove from heat and coarsely chop. Add to orzo.

Whisk together pesto, lime juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl. Add to orzo mixture along with tomato, cheese, and basil. Toss to combine, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chill for 4-24 hours. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Anonymous said...

You make the BEST pasta salads!! I totally want to use this for company this upcoming week! :)

BMK said...

I love cold summer salads like this! Yum!

Anonymous said...

Grilling the vegetables must add a ton of flavor. This looks so good!

Donna-FFW said...

Grilled vegetables sound wonderful in this pasta salad. I love the colors too. Perfect.

amycaseycooks said...

Oh so happy when I have a bowl of this in my refrigerator!!

elly said...

I love everything about this salad, from the orzo to the roasted vegetables to the pesto vinaigrette. Yum!

What's Cookin Chicago said...

This and your recent recipes all look wonderful! Orzo salads are great and so versatile and this recipe is no exception. I've been on a slight commenting hiatus with my busy schedule lately... but it's great to catch up and see what's cooking in your kitchen!