orzoveggies

Before my parents came to visit a few weekends ago, my mom let me know that they wanted to bring up a few nice steaks for Sunday night dinner.  What a fabulous gesture!!  So I immediately got to running side dishes through my head and didn’t land on this one until I saw Ina make it a few days before my parents were to arrive.  It was perfect.  While I LOVE me some baked potatoes with steak, I was hoping to take advantage of the great seasonal veggies that are available this time of year and this recipe made full use of them. Plus I still got my starch in there by way of the orzo. :)

If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid the heat this summer like us in the Northeast, you also would be taking advantage of using the least used appliance during the summer months: your stove.  I jumped at the chance to roast up some veggies that weekend and was so.dang.happy. with the end result.  The depth of the vegetables’ flavor really deepens when they are roasted and combining them with orzo was a wonderful way to use the orzo as a blank palate for a delicious dish.  Of course, adding the feta cheese didn’t hurt either.  So if you’re looking for an easy side dish that will pack a punch of flavor, give this one a shot…and don’t wait for the summer heat to leave before you turn your oven back on!

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Some favorites from August 2008: Breakfast in France, Banana Crunch Muffins, Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup

Some favorites from August 2007: Banana Bread, Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops and Soft Polenta, Gnocchi with Thyme Butter Sauce

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Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good 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:

nocoupons

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To Assemble:

nocoupons

  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.