Pasta, SaladMalia Howe

Roasted Vegetable and Orzo Salad

Pasta, SaladMalia Howe
Roasted Vegetable and Orzo Salad

This is my favorite pasta salad. I rarely make pasta salad, but when I do, this is the one I go for. It comes from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), and if you remember anything I tell you, remember that nothing the Barefoot Contessa makes is always good. This is easily adaptable, so feel free to play around with vegetable combinations, different cheeses, etc. Using orzo is fantastic in pasta salads because it doesn't seem to go bland after it sits in the fridge for a couple days as other larger pastas do. I just ate this for the third day in a row and still had no need to re-season or re-dress. Another summertime winner.


Roasted Vegetable and Orzo Salad

-adapted from via Barefoot Contessa

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced (this time I used zucchini since I had it from the garden)
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced (or just use 2 red as I did)
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To finish: 

  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (I didn't use these this time)
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled. Buy the chunk and cut it up. The quality is far better and it matters here)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin ribbons

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes at 425 degrees, until browned and softened, turning once or twice. 

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature or chilled if desired.