Orzo saladPosted: 5 April 2012
You will find lots of recipes for orzo in the internet. This one with pine nuts, snow beans and soft cheese is my favourite, with modifications of my own. The long list of ingredients should not scare you! It is not hard or even time consuming at all because everything, except three items is about mincing, chopping and mixing!
Ingredients (6 serving): Orzo, 1 + ½ cup. Snow peas, half a box or about 20. Pine nuts (also called pignoils), ¼ cup. Scallions, 2, chopped. Yellow bell pepper, ½, seeded and chopped (I used orange pepper and it looked like cabbage in my salad; definitely use YELLOW one!) English cucumber, one third of a big one, skinned and chopped. Mushroom, half a box or about 7, sliced. Baladi or Feta cheese, 1/2 cup. Salt, 1tbsp. Olive oil, 1 tbsp. Fore dressing: Balsamic or white wine vinegar, 2 tbsp. Garlic, 2 cloves, minced. Fresh tarragon, 2 stems, picked. Olive oil, 1 tbsp.
Method: starting with Orzo which is of course a type of pasta: Follow the direction on the box, it is an accurate one. Here it is if you don’t have it handy! Bring to a boil 3 cups of water, then add the orzo with half tbsp. salt and half close the lid until all water is absorbed and orzo is cooked at core. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside. Next comes roasting pine nuts. Heat one tbsp. olive oil and stir-fry the nuts in it for less than a minute. The colour should turn slightly golden. Transfer to a plate or a kitchen towel. The final “processing” step is blanching snow peas. First, trim the snow peas using a knife. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the snow peas along with ½ tbsp. salt. Boil for 2 minutes only. Have a container full of iced water ready in the sink. Using a slotted spoon take the peas out of the boiling water and put them in the iced water. Drain after a few minutes. You will get tender yet chewy and completely green snow peas, which taste absolutely amazing!
Now, all you need to do is mix the raw and the processed ingredients in a large serving bowl: combine orzo, snow peas, scallions, yellow pepper, cucumber, cheese and pine nuts. Make sure though that are vegetables, colours and tastes are distributed evenly and nicely. I do save a little bit of pine nuts for the topping In a large cup, whisk together olive oil, tarragon, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour it over the salad.