Saturday, September 19, 2009

Giada's Orzo Salad

Have I told you that I think I am obsessed with orzo? I can't help myself - rice is one of my favorite grains and being the carb freak that I am, I cannot get enough of pasta - since orzo is a rice-shaped pasta, it's like heaven in a bowl.

We had company over a bit ago and this was the salad that I made for our company. A couple of notes - the mint made a jarring note to this salad. It could be because my knife skills are lacking, but I wasn't overly fond of the mint. Also? If you're planning on serving this salad to guests, make sure to make it a day ahead. My beloved husband/photographer who will eat damn near anything made a suggestion that we might want to have a Plan B once he tried the salad right after I made it. The vinegar had quite an initial kick to it.

Orzo Salad

by Giada De Laurentis

* 4 cups chicken broth
* 1 1/2 cups orzo
* 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 1/2 cups red and yellow teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
* 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
* About 3/4 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside to cool completely.

Toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Yield: 1 3/4 cups

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