I've said it before, but I really appreciate that G knows what he likes. Even though I do most of the cooking for us, a lot of it is influenced by him - by meals he has eaten that he'd like re-created, by foods he likes but could be better, by flavors he likes, or sometimes simply by stuff on Kitchen Nightmares (the "After," not the gross melty "Before" stuff!). I also appreciate how calm and cool-headed he can be when I'm...not.
So while I panicked and froze up trying to come up with something to make for the dinner party, G simply said, "Orzo salad." And so it was. Not having tasted whatever it was that orzo salad called to mind for him, I looked up pasta salad recipes, read a little about orzo and kind of just hounded him for information. We came up with a pasta dish that also incorporates a protein for something really filling that tastes good and is perfect for a dinner party, or anything where you want a make-ahead dish.
Orzo Salad, serves about 8-10
1 c orzo pasta, dry
1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 TBS olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 c cooked small white beans (about half a 15 oz. can)
1 bunch asparagus
1 7 oz. jar of marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
5 oz. jarred pitted Kalamata olives, drained and chopped
3-4 TBS chopped fresh basil
2-3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
-Cook 1 cup dry orzo pasta according to directions on box (I'm pretty sure it's just double the amount of water). Drain, rinse with cold water and set into a large serving dish.
-Dice garlic and toss with olive oil in pasta, juice the lemon taking care to keep the pits out! Set dish aside to cool.
-Meanwhile, chop your bunch of asparagus and steam until bright green and tender. Rinse in cold water and drain. Add to pasta.
-Add in artichokes and olives, basil and parsley.
-Salt and pepper to taste. Add more olive oil or lemon juice if necessary to coat.
-Serve cold. This tastes best the next day when the flavors have marinated.
With the leftover beans, I added protein to my lunch salad today:
And with the leftover basil, I OF COURSE made pesto! (My basic recipe for that is basil, spinach, walnuts (or pine nuts, which I actually have but I'm too stingy to use), olive oil, salt, lemon juice, garlic, and nutritional yeast.) G mixed the pesto into the leftover orzo salad for dinner and said it was great. I'm still working on using up the collards so I made a raw Italian-y-ish collard wrap. Keeping in mind I'm Irish and have no idea what to do in the realm of Italian food, I put the pesto in my wrap along with red pepper, tomatoes, spinach, and olives.