Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Orzo Salad with Lemon, Mint, & Ricotta Salata

Birthdays at work- do you celebrate at yours? Is it the same old cake or whatnot every time? Not at my job! We all contribute & it is so much fun. AND the goodies are a selection of sweet & savory so you can have your pick. Amongst the array for the latest, my boss' birthday, we surprised him with: my blondies, K's cherry or strawberry topped vanilla cupcakes, A's brownies, G's (well V's) strawberry rhubarb pie & chocolate chip cookies, mini pitas/hummus, tortilla chips/salsa & another "A" brought in cold salads from Dean & DeLuca... One of the salads was my inspiration for this dish. Well, inspiration AND recipe since the only "adaptation" I made was to add fresh asparagus. This pasta salad is delicious in itself, as a side, for a picnic, etc. The tiny salad packs a lot of taste! Try it- you.will.love.it.
<3 Lishie

Orzo Salad with Lemon, Mint, & Ricotta Salata
slightly adapted from Dean & DeLuca
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 c minced shallots
  • 2 TBSp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest, or more to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 c uncooked orzo
  • 1/2 c very finely diced thin asparagus
  • 1/2 c very finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c very finely diced seedless cucumber
  • 1/2 c crumbled ricotta salata cheese (about 3 oz)
  • 3 TBSp minced fresh mint leaves
Stir together the olive oil, shallots, lemon juice, garlic, & lemon zest in a small bowl. Season to taste with S & P. 

Cook the orzo in a large kettle of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta completely in a colander, running under cold water. Transfer orzo to a bowl, stir in the olive oil mixture, & let cool. Stir in the asparagus, bell pepper, cucumber, ricotta salata, & mint until combined well. You could serve the salad immediately, but we think it tastes best if you let it stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
Some of the work booty pictured. My Blondies, far left.

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