I discovered this orzo recipe a few years ago while watching the Food Network. I have made a few changes based on my family's preferences, the original recipe comes from the cookbook Barefoot Contessa Parties. This recipe is colourful and keeps well over several days, in fact it only gets tastier! I have served this both as a main dish or a side dish. It's great at potlucks too.
It's a perfect summer dish and you can even just use leftover grilled veggies from the BBQ if you have that on hand. Feel free to swap out the veggies I've suggested and add your families favourites instead.
What you need:
1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4 inch diced (I just guess the right size!)
1 red pepper, 1 inch diced
1 yellow pepper, 1 inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1 inch diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt (you can use regular salt)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 pound of orzo pasta (about a cup)
1/3 lemon juice (2 lemons squeezed)
1/8 to 1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp pepper
4 scallions, minced
Diced feta cheese (not crumbled) – as much as you'd like!
8 basil leaves, cut into strips
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the eggplant, peppers, onion and garlic with the olive oil, salt and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes, until browned, turning vegetables once at the halfway point with a spatula.
Meanwhile, cook the orzo 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 bowl.
For the dressing, combine the ingredients and pour on the pasta and veggies. Let cool to room temperature then add the toppings. Serve at room temperature.