Monday, May 28, 2007
Orzo Pasta Salad
In celebration of Memorial Day, most of us are having or attending a barbecue or a party and enjoying extra time off work. But hopefully in the middle of the grilling, beer drinking and fun, we remember with solemnness the men and women who gave their life so we can enjoy the kind of existence we have today in America.
I, for one, take for granted sometimes how many freedoms and securities I have that allow me to focus my energies on things like BBQ menu planning and new cocktails to create.
This salad was one of our menu items for our Memorial Day barbecue - it comes from my friend Sarah, who got it from The Sonoran Grill cookbook from Mad Coyote Joe. It's an amazing recipe! Slightly sweet, but it has a bit of a bite from the peppers.
The best thing is that it's best made the day before (easy) and is best at room temperature (even easier) and with no dairy or meat, it is not likely to ever cause the dreaded mayo-based salad issues. Plus, orzo (rice-shaped pasta) is so fun and different.
Ensalada de Orzo Diablo:
(serves 8 to 10 as a side)
3 c uncooked orzo pasta
1 each yellow, red and green bell peppers, chopped
1 jalapeno chili, de-seeded and de-veined to reduce heat, chopped
1 Serrano chili, de-seeded and de-veined to reduce heat, chopped
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 small red onion, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c chopped cilantro
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbs brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2/3 c olive oil
Boil heavily salted water to cook orzo - don't let it get mushy, remove from water when al dente. Meanwhile, mix all vinaigrette ingredients except oil, then slowly drizzle in oil until an emulsion forms. Toss vinaigrette with pasta, then add remaining ingredients.
Once incorporated, it's best to cover and refrigerate overnight, then let come to room temperature before serving.