Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Giada's Orzo Salad

Although I’ve already discovered my favorite orzo salad , this is definitely a keeper (and more cost effective). This works well at outdoor gatherings, as it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and not mayo-based. This salad has a great texture from the beans and chopped red onions. A combination of superb and refreshing flavors, it can be made as a meal alone. We paired it with Giada’s Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing, but any grilled chicken would work well with this salad. I was a little nervous about putting I fresh mint in this recipe, but it added a depth of flavor; however, if you don’t have use, I wouldn’t sweat it- Just substitute it with additional fresh basil. We added crumbled feta cheese, but this dish certainly doesn’t need it.

Giada's Orzo Salad
4 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups orzo pasta
15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 cups red and yellow teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows (I use closer to 1-1.25 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7--9 minutes.
2. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside to cool completely.
3. Toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat.
4. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp honey
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender.
2. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil.
3. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Yield: 1-3/4 cups

Source: Giada’s Family Dinners


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