Creamy Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Creamy Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Creamy Mediterranean Orzo Salad

This orzo salad is the perfect complement to your next barbecue, and it’s great to have in the refrigerator for busy weeks or weekends. You can eat this flavorsome salad hot or cold, so it’s the perfect make-ahead salad to bring to a gathering.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
0 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta uncooked
  • 1/2 cup Italian olive oil extra virgin plus extra for grilling vegetables
  • 1/2  cup shallots  diced small
  • 1 garlic clove roasted
  • 1 quart  chicken or vegetable broth low sodium
  • 1 yellow pepper grilled and cut into medium dice.
  • 1 orange pepper grilled and cut into medium dice.
  • 1 red pepper grilled and cut into medium dice.
  • 8 ounces tomatoes mini heirloom
  • 1/2 cup parsley roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint roughly chopped
  • 1/4  cup basil roughly chopped
  • 6 ounces goat cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 lemon  freshly squeezed

Instructions
 

  • Toss peppers and onion with Italian olive oil, lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Grill 350-400 degrees until peppers become charred and until onion caramelized. Set aside and cool. Cut the stem off, turn over, cut down the sides, slice around the seeds, and discard. Remove the pith.  Using your knife, scrape off the charred skin—cut peppers onions into medium diced.
  • Slice the top of garlic off. Drizzle 1/2 cup olive oil over the top of garlic. Seal in heavy tin foil to prevent oil from leaking—place on grill. Garlic will be a golden brown and soft when done. 
  • Wash and cut the tomatoes in half. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  • Roughly chop all herbs set them aside in the refrigerator.
  • Add enough garlic olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan lightly. Test the oil by adding a couple of pieces of orzo when it sizzles; add the rest of the orzo, shallots, and a pinch of salt, browning the orzo. Using the flat side of your knife, press down on the garlic to make a paste and add to pasta.
  • Add 1 cup of stock at a time until the orzo has absorbed the liquid. Continue adding stock a cup at a time; continue stirring to prevent pasta from sticking to the bottom of your pan.
  • Once you have incorporated all of your liquid, turn the stove burner off and place the lid on the pot, letting pasta absorb any remaining liquid.
  • Fold in: peppers, onions, herbs, and add goat cheese.
  • Adjust seasoning with freshly ground pepper and Kosher salt. Finish with lemon.
  • Note: You will have extra garlic oil and roasted garlic leftover, reserve, and refrigerate for up to two weeks. I love having both on hand; they add that savory flavor to sautéed vegetables, soups, salad dressings, dips, and certainly on a slice of delicious crispy rustic bread! 
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