I photographed this dish, so the intent was definitely there. However, it wasn’t until I got the text from my sister-in-law today (a week and a half later) asking for the recipe that I knew I needed to get my butt in gear and post it. Last weekend was our annual summer family shindig. The food fest began on Thursday night, when my family made their way down from Massachusetts, and didn’t let up until after Sunday morning’s breakfast finale. Saturday night is always one of the better meals – cooking out on the grill with the likes of roasted clams, grilled shrimp, juicy filets, and finger-lickin’ ribs. Earlier in the week I asked my mom what she needed and she suggested a pasta. Pasta? Really? On top of all of this? I noticed that there were no veggies on the menu besides corn on the cob and a green salad, so I got the brilliant idea to make her and this carb-lovin’ crew happy, while also sneaking in some summer-licious vegetables. I had never made this salad before, but I knew what the end goal was: I wanted to roast some farmstand staples and toss with cheese and orzo. I stumbled upon a well-reviewed recipe by Ina Garten, tweaked it ever so slightly, and ended up with this. I knew it was a hit when my veggie-fearing father ate everything, including the vegetables (usually if there’s a pasta dish with vegetables, he shoves the latter to the side and just eats the pasta – no, he’s not 5 – more like 58). The dressing is super light, leting the pasta fall back and the veggies shine.
Please take note of the size of this recipe. It makes a large batch; perfect for a big picnic or gathering. I gave you my exact portions, but you can halve it for a normal sized crowd. Bear in mind, you can’t really screw up this dish by roasting too many veggies. Keep it colorful, seasonal, and local.
P.S. Good luck getting all of your veggies into this salad because I simply could not stop plucking them off the baking sheet and tasting them after they came out of the oven.
P.P.S. And, of course, here are some pics of my little guy, who has been growing like a champ every single day.
serves 10 – 12
adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe
3 crowns of broccoli
2 green squash, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds and halved
1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds and halved
1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 pound orzo pasta
For the dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 scallions, green and white parts sliced
3/4 lb. block of feta cheese, diced
A couple handfuls of fresh basil, julienned
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the broccoli florets from the stalks, leaving an inch or two of stem; discard the stalks. Toss the broccoli, squash, peppers, onions, garlic, oil, salt and pepper together on two foil-lined baking sheets. Roast for 40 minutes, until slightly browned, turning once with a spatula.
Whisk the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cook the orzo in salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables and any accumulated juices on the baking sheets into the bowl. Pour dressing over everything and toss well. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, feta, and basil. Taste for seasoning and adjust to flavor. Serve at room temperature or cold.
A few notes:
- Ricotta salada, parmesan, or goat cheese would be great alternatives to feta
- Add or substitute your favorite veggies
- Ina puts pine nuts in hers. I’m sure they’re a nice touch, but I did not have them and they weren’t missed.
- I doubled the pasta and didn’t see the need to up the dressing. Ante up if you like.