Monday, August 18, 2008

Orzo With Roasted Vegetables

From Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten

Serves 6.

1 2 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 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 lb orzo pasta or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

To assemble
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
3/4 lb good feta, 1/2 inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade or julienne cut

*To toast pignolis, put in a small saute pan dry for 4 minutes or until golden brown, tossing frequently to prevent burning.
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.
3. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
4. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender.
5. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
6. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
7. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables.
8. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil.
9. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Personal Note: Wow, does this not have everything delicious imaginable in it?! This is in the "so freaking good" category for me. I mean, feta! Toasted pignolis! Fresh basil and lots of it! Scallions! Roasted, sweet seasonal veggies! Mmmm. And it's very, very easy. According to Ina, all of the vegetables are in season at the same time, and this can easily be made in advance (you can do everything ahead up to step 8 and then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and fresh basil before serving). It probably goes without saying, but this dish is really pretty, smells awesome, and is good for entertaining because it's served room temperature. It's important to add the dressing while the pasta and vegetables are hot so they absorb the flavors.

EDIT: Aw, this dish received a shout out from my cutie. Sweet.

1 comment:

Dustin said...

Everything about this sounds good to me, but Im just never sure about lemon. . . it has taken me a long time to love lime.