Monday, March 10, 2014

Orzo Artichoke Pasta Salad

I made this for the first time on Valentine's night.  Just an impromptu side dish to go with our delicious surf and turf dinner-for-two.  And yes, contrary to what some people in my family think - I can cook without a camera in my hand.  Okay... so I was itching to take photos, but I resisted.  But we enjoyed it so much, that we've continued to make it since.  It's great both hot AND cold.  As a matter of fact, after doing it a few times, that's my favorite way - as a cold pasta salad.  This works great for a number of reasons.  It gives all those flavors time to sort of marry together and really get comfortable with each other.  And if you ARE taking it on a springtime picnic, family reunion, or tailgating, it's a great choice because there's no mayo in there to spoil.  

You could easily turn this into a complete meal salad with the addition of cooked chicken or grilled shrimp, for example.  The flavors are light and bright and sunny.. and even though its filling, you won't feel weighed down.  Yes, I know the orzo looks like rice, but I assure you - it really is pasta.  Oh, and one more thing, it makes a ton, so this would be great for large family gatherings! 

Print this recipe! 

Ingredients:   (8 - 10 servings)
  • 1 pound of orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced (~ 2 full Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 pints mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half (about 3 cups)
  • 8 oz marinated, grilled artichokes in oil.  Do not drain.
  • 3 Tbsp capers, drained.
  • 5 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (not table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large lemons juiced (about 1/2 cup of juice)
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves (the leaves from a 0.75 oz container)

Step-by-Step:   
Do yourself a favor and prep your ingredients first; because the rest of this recipe is basically just throwing it together.   Lovely Lily is cutting 1 1/2 pints of grape tomatoes in half, and chopping a 1/2 cup of basil leaves for me. 
Please note that she has been doing this for a LONG time, and has lots of kitchen experience.  Please allow your children to assist you to the level that THEY are safe as well as supervised.

Now we will need 1/2 cup of lemon juice.  Please don't use the fake stuff.  Those bottles don't grow on trees.  These lovely yellow things do.  They taste so much better.. and they are so much fun to squeeze!
This is a great job for the kiddos!!!
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
While water is heating, start on the dressing for the pasta.  Saute onions and garlic in 1/4 cup EVOO a few minutes until they start to soften. 
1/4 cup EVOO
1 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp finely minced garlic (about 4 large cloves
Add tomatoes, artichokes, and capers.  Cook for about 5 minutes on medium, then turn off the heat.  
3 cups mixed red and yellow grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 (7.5 - 8 oz) jar grilled, marinated artichoke hearts, WITH liquid.  Do not drain first.
3 Tbsp capers, drained
Pretty, huh?!  You can turn off the heat now if your onions are soft.  We don't really want the tomatoes to be mushy.
I see the water boiling.  Let's get that pasta going!
1 pound orzo pasta
Cook according to package directions, leaving it just a bit al dente.
Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the pasta water before you drain it.
Returning the pasta to the large pot you cooked it in.  Add back the hot cooking water. 
Add the warm tomato and artichoke mixture to the cooked pasta.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup EVOO and parsley and stir to let it warm through and wilt the parsley. 

1/4 cup EVOO
5 Tbsp chopped parsley
Season with the salt and pepper.  Stir in the lemon juice and chopped basil.  It's going to seem really soupy, but this is pasta, so it will drink up lots of liquid.  And you don't want it to be dry later on.
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Enjoy now, hot - as a side dish.  Or refrigerate and have cold!  

 My bet is that you will have some of BOTH!!!

I really hope you enjoyed this recipe!
There are many more to be discovered and cooked just waiting for you, on my Recipe Index.  You may also enjoy my Filmstrips for Pinning page, where you can see whole recipes at a glance.

Connect with me.
If you are not already a subscriber, Click here to subscribe to MenuMusings so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help keep you out of the cooking rut, or at least hopefully give you new ideas.   You can also follow me on Pinterest or on the MenuMusings Facebook page.  
Here are some bonus recipes for you. 





 
Written Method:  
Start the water to heat first.  When boiling, add pasta and cook according to package direction - it will probably take around 10 minutes.   Do not overcook.  We don't want mushy pasta.

While water is heating, start on the dressing for the pasta.  Saute onions and garlic in 1/4 cup EVOO a few minutes until they start to soften.  Add tomatoes, artichokes, and capers.  Cook for about 5 minutes on medium, then turn off the heat. 

Once pasta is cooked, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.  Then drain the pasta, returning it to the large pot you cooked it in.  Add back the hot cooking water.  Add the warm tomato and artichoke mixture to the cooked pasta.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup EVOO and parsley and stir to let it warm through and wilt the parsley.  Season with the salt and pepper.  Stir in the lemon juice and chopped basil.

10 comments:

  1. Sounds like another winner Julie! Can't wait to try it... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Beth!!... Maybe it'll even make it to the menu board one day! :D

      Delete
  2. I bet this would be great if you cooled it off and stirred in little fresh mozzarella balls and pitted black olives!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a question for u Julie. I notice you don't use quinoa, which seems to be in EVERYTHING lately. I wanna like it, I've tried it/cooked it so many ways and just find it gross, like to the point where I'm eating it wondering why I wasted other good ingredients by incorporating this grain or seed or whatever it is. So far I've substituted wild rice, Israeli n reg couscous, and bulgur...orzo could work...any other ideas? Or ideas to make quinoa less gross?

      Delete
    2. I actually do have one quinoa recipe. That said, it does take some getting used to. And if you don't like it, why force it? But check out the recipe, as there is some interesting trivia on quinoa that you may find interesting. Also, I toasted it first.. wonder if that would make any difference to you?
      http://menumusings.blogspot.com/2011/11/red-quinoa-with-pine-nuts-cilantro-and.html

      Delete
  3. Loved the pics of her making these. And the salade looks so good too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. She is gone this week on vacation, and it's so lonely cooking without her. She is my constant kitchen companion!!

      Delete
  4. looks delish...will try this weekend...geaux tigers!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Omgosh that looks AMAZING! So going to try this. I always use orzo in soups and never used it like this before. Thanks for sharing on The Weekend Social.

    ReplyDelete

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest