Monday, July 12, 2010

Herbed Orzo and Summer Squash

I happened across this recipe last summer, while searching for new ways to use squash.  It turned up on Carrboro Farmer's Market website. Turned out to be a keeper.

Herbed Orzo and Summer Squash
From Sheri Castle of Creative Cooking with Sheri Castle
This is so simple, yet so very good. The trick is to use as many different types of summer squash and zucchini you can find in the market. I am in love with those pattypan squashes that look like little multicolored flying saucers. In parts of the Deep South, they're called cymlings. You use the entire vegetable, just as you'd use any small summer squash or zucchini. At this stage in the season, nearly all of the squashes are so tender that they don't need to be peeled.
This can be a side dish or a light summer entree. For variety, try using crumbled goat cheese or cubes of smoked mozzarella in place of the Parmesan. Or, to make it more hearty (in a lighthearted kind of way), stir in some leftover grilled chicken, diced tomatoes and moisten with Italian dressing.

1 1/2 cup orzo pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cups (about 3 pounds) diced assorted fresh summer squashes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or more to taste)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Zest of one fresh lemon
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1. Cook the orzo according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
3. Add the onion and sauté until it softens, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the squash and sauté until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Drain the orzo well and stir into the sautéed vegetables.
7. Stir in the Parmesan, basil, parsley, zest and pine nuts. If the dish seems dry, drizzle with more
olive oil.
8. Season with additional salt and pepper.
9. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

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