Summer Vegetable Orzo

Today's recipe was the main entree from my Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event - a everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of summer pasta dish that you just can't go wrong with. I was on a mission to use whatever the farm or my garden gave me that week, but you really can use a wide variety of vegetables in this that would work equally well - peas, snow peas, tomatoes, or fennel would all be nice additions.
I had carrots, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, and spring onion from the farm along with parsley from my garden.
And I had purchased this really nice orzo from Pappardelle's at the farmers' market. When you are buying pasta, look for a slightly rougher texture as it helps it hold onto sauce better instead of everything just slipping away from the pasta. I used a lemon and garlic version which was really flavorful with all of the vegetables.
And for me, you can't make a pasta dish without a healthy dose of garlic. I usually use 1 clove per serving, sometimes more, but certainly you can cut back if you aren't addicted like me!
Make sure you prep all of your vegetables before you start cooking - cut everything into a small dice except for the garlic and parsley which you'll want to mince.
All you need is one large skillet to cook everything - add the garlic after the other vegetables start softening up so it doesn't burn......and add the herbs toward the end to keep them bright. I used both parsley and basil because I had them in my garden. After mixing the cooked vegetables with the cooked orzo, I used some of the pasta water I had reserved to make a little bit of sauce and then topped the whole thing with some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
This dish is satisfying enough to be a vegetarian dinner entree and light enough for a summer lunch. Hope you enjoy it!
Summer Vegetable Orzo
Serves 4

8 ounces orzo, cooked and drained, reserve 1 cup cooking water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1/4 cup basil leaves, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add carrots, squash, zucchini and onion and cook until slightly softened. Add garlic, parsley, and basil and cook a few more minutes. Add pasta water as desired to make a light sauce and season with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss with grated cheese and serve.


Muneeba said...

I'm always looking for new ways to serve orzo, and now I have a fabulously healthy recipe .. thks!

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