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Summer Vegetable Orzo

July 30, 2009 | Pasta & Pizza, Special, Vegetables

Today’s recipe was the main entree from my Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event – a everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of summer pasta dish that you just can’t go wrong with. I was on a mission to use whatever the farm or my garden gave me that week, but you really can use a wide variety of vegetables in this that would work equally well – peas, snow peas, tomatoes, or fennel would all be nice additions.
I had carrots, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, and spring onion from the farm along with parsley from my garden.
And I had purchased this really nice orzo from Pappardelle’s at the farmers’ market. When you are buying pasta, look for a slightly rougher texture as it helps it hold onto sauce better instead of everything just slipping away from the pasta. I used a lemon and garlic version which was really flavorful with all of the vegetables.
And for me, you can’t make a pasta dish without a healthy dose of garlic. I usually use 1 clove per serving, sometimes more, but certainly you can cut back if you aren’t addicted like me!
Make sure you prep all of your vegetables before you start cooking – cut everything into a small dice except for the garlic and parsley which you’ll want to mince.
All you need is one large skillet to cook everything – add the garlic after the other vegetables start softening up so it doesn’t burn……and add the herbs toward the end to keep them bright. I used both parsley and basil because I had them in my garden. After mixing the cooked vegetables with the cooked orzo, I used some of the pasta water I had reserved to make a little bit of sauce and then topped the whole thing with some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
This dish is satisfying enough to be a vegetarian dinner entree and light enough for a summer lunch. Hope you enjoy it!
Summer Vegetable Orzo
Serves 4

8 ounces orzo, cooked and drained, reserve 1 cup cooking water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1/4 cup basil leaves, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add carrots, squash, zucchini and onion and cook until slightly softened. Add garlic, parsley, and basil and cook a few more minutes. Add pasta water as desired to make a light sauce and season with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss with grated cheese and serve.

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