For some unknown reason, I feel the need to have an orzo salad with our Easter meal. Why orzo? Why at Easter?We don’t really need to answer these questions. Information that actually might be useful: Orzo is a small rice shaped pasta. It comes in different sizes, some look more flat and like short grain rice. Other varieties of orzo are more similar to a piece of long grain rice. I prefer the longer, thinner shape. It’s not rice, just pasta shaped like rice. Find it in the pasta section of your grocery.
The Easter orzo salad changes a little each year. I love shrimp, orzo and vegetables together. I tried a new recipe this year, and everyone agreed it’s a keeper. I know you’re going to love it too.
Orzo, Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
Adapted from Bon Appetite 2008
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 9 ounces total), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 red or yellow bell pepper, quartered
3 tablespoons purchased pesto
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 cups tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups) or 2 cups grape tomatoes, slice in half
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish
1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.
Serves 4-6 as a side salad
This can be made ahead and kept in refrigerator for up to a day before serving.
-This can be prepared without a grill. If you have a convection oven, turn the heat to about 425 and cook just until vegetables start to turn golden. You may cook the shrimp in the oven as well, or saute in a pan on the stove. The flavors are definitely better when the vegetables ad shrimp are grilled on a barbecue grill.
-Don’t overcook the vegetables. They should be barely softened when cooked properly.