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I’ve grown bored of Chinese vegetables and enjoy few vegetables from winter’s bounty.  I do however love salads and never seem to tire of them.  Many times, the best salads have evolved from rummaging through the veggie drawer and throwing together my finds.  I’m always looking for new and different ways to prepare a salad.

I decided on an orzo side salad for dinner.  Although I don’t make pasta often, orzo is the one most frequently used in my pantry – I just bought another bag today.  It is lighter and less filling than most other pastas.

For this dish, I did not want the grain to dominate, but rather showcase the vegetables and have their beautiful bright colors dance on the dish.

I served this side dish with a grilled rib eye steak, tossed green salad with avocado, and toasted baguette.

Serves: 2

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 broccoli stalk, chopped into bit size pieces
1 scallion, green part only thinly sliced
1/4 cup orzo
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/8 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste


Grate cheese in a bowl.  Set aside.

Fill a small saucepan with water.  Salt water and bring to a boil.  Add broccoli and bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Cook broccoli for 5 minutes.  Drain and put veggies into an ice bath to stop cooking process.  Once chilled, remove and drain.

Quarter tomatoes and thinly slice scallion.  Set aside.

Fill a small saucepan ¾ full with water.  Salt water heavily and bring to a boil.  Add orzo and stir.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Cook orzo about 9 minutes until al dente.  Drain – do not rinse.  Immediately pour orzo into the cheese and mix to incorporate.  Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Prior to serving, add remaining lemon juice and olive oil to broccoli and tomatoes, lightly toss.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Combine orzo, broccoli, tomatoes, scallions, shaved cheese lightly toss together.  And there you have it.