Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Orzo with Garden Vegetables

This is another variation on one of my favorite warm weather dishes. It is hard to go wrong with this orzo and vinaigrette combination, but I particularly liked this mix of fresh and roasted vegetables. It is hearty enough for a dinner and also makes a great lunch.

1 eggplant, chopped
1 red pepper, 1 inch diced
1 pound orzo pasta (rice shaped pasta)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups of baby spinach, rough chopped
1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the eggplant and red pepper on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until browned, turning once.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl.

Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup of olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Allow the orzo and the roasted vegetables to cool to room temperature. Then combine all ingredients and toss well. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings before serving.

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