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Orzo, Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Adapted from Bon Appetite 2008
Course Salad

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces orzo about 1 1/3 cups
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush zucchini and bell pepper with 2 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto, lime juice, remaining 4 tablespoons oil, and remaining 1-2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl for pesto vinaigrette. Place shrimp in medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons pesto vinaigrette; toss to coat.
  3. Grill zucchini and bell pepper until crisp tender, about 2 minutes per side for zucchini and 3 minutes per side for bell pepper. Transfer to work surface. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper; grill until charred and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place shrimp in bowl with orzo. Chop zucchini and bell pepper; add to bowl with orzo. Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, sliced basil, and mozzarella; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Garnish with basil sprigs and serve cold or at room temperature.
  5. Serves 4-6 as a side salad
  6. This can be made ahead and kept in refrigerator for up to a day before serving.

Recipe Notes

-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 and shrimp are grilled on a barbecue grill. -Don't overcook the vegetables. They should be barely softened when cooked properly.