Monday, November 19, 2007

Pine Nut Orzo

I am on a mission: to use up food items in my pantry and freezer. Like most people, I will buy this or that to use for a specific dish, then I forget all about it. Or I shop for produce, and loose a cucumber in the back of the refrigerator.

Not one to waste food, I discovered said English cucumber tucked away in a corner of the "chill chest," to coin a phrase from Alton Brown. I also had some feta cheese to use up, as well as a bag of orzo that had been sitting around for a while. Oh, yes, and that red onion. And a lemon or two. What to do?

Well, I turned to Rachael Ray after seeing her whip up a Pine Nut Orzo salad on her show, 30 Minute Meals. Master Chow and I thought it was nice on its own when we had it at lunch, but it really shone when we paired it later that evening with a rib eye steak (for him) and some scallops and shrimp (for me). Since I have half a pound of orzo left in the cupboard, I'll be making this again!
Pine Nut and Orzo Salad
Adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray
4 to 6 servings
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use a good one, you'll be able to taste it)
salt and pepper to taste
Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for the pasta salad. When the water boils, salt it and cook the pasta to al dente. If your pasta bag doesn't tell you how long that might be, start checking after 4 minutes. My orzo was al dente after 5 minutes.
If you want to take some of the bite out of the diced onion, let it sit in the bottom of the salad bowl in the juice of the lemons while you cook the pasta and prep the rest of the ingredients.

Drain orzo and add to the onions and lemon juice, along with the pine nuts, parsley, feta crumbles, about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Top with the olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers.


Blogger Deborah said...

This sounds wonderful!! I have some orzo in the cupboard as well!

November 19, 2007 1:31 PM  
Blogger rowena said...

Ah yes...the stuff that collects in the pantry and freezer. I'm just as guilty, and have been slowly working my way through my hoarded stash!

A good thing though that spam lasts forever....THAT I can put off using up until sometime next year! ;-)

November 19, 2007 4:47 PM  

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