weeknight gourmet

Great Summer Side: Tri-Colore Orzo

I have made this orzo dish several times and everyone loves it!  It’s just a great combo of flavors — sweetness from the cherries, saltiness from the ricotta salata, some freshness from the basil and arugula, and little crunch from the pine nuts.

A couple of quick notes, I use baby arugula because I prefer the flavor and you can buy it pre-washed in a clamshell.  I have made the recipe with dried cranberries and feta when I cannot find dried cherries and ricotta salata.

To toast the pine nuts, just cook them in a small frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes.  The nuts will start to darken in color.  Keep an eye on them — I have burned many nuts and sesame seeds by forgetting about the toasting in progress.

Overall, a great summer side!

Tri-Colore Orzo
Giada De Laurentiis

  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese (or feta cheese)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool.

Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.

 

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