Tuesday, March 27, 2012

orzo salad with pine nuts and sprouts.

despite the fact that the bay area decided to pretty much skip over winter this year, i'm still ready - dare i say itching! - for spring. don't get me wrong: i love my root vegetables and glittens. and even when it's 70 degrees outside in january, i still insist on "honoring" the season with comforting soups and roasted dishes. 

but now that those bright green asparagus and broccolini bunches have started to creep their way into my local farmer's market, i'm ready to trade in heartier stews for some lighter fare. 

this orzo salad fits the bill. if you're looking for a simple side, potluck contribution, or main course - look no further! not only is it incredibly simple to throw together, but it's endlessly adaptable. a perfect clean-out-the-fridge solution. 

you'll want to keep the sprouts and cucumber for the wonderful crunch and texture they add, but you should feel free, encouraged even, to experiment with the other add-ins. i've made the dish twice already, each time using different toasted nuts, greens, and herbs. this pine nut and cilantro version is my favorite of the two, but in my next version (which i will invariably make in the next few days), i'll be trying toasted almonds, spring onions, and some roughly chopped mint.

orzo salad with pine nuts and sprouts.

adapted from 101 cookbooks

1 cup dried orzo pasta

1 small clove of garlic, mashed
1 big squeeze from a lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 handfuls of sprouts
1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

bring a pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the orzo according to the package instructions. drain and run under a bit of cold water for just long enough to stop the cooking.

in a serving bowl, add the sprouts, cucumber, and pine nuts. when the orzo is cooled, add to the bowl.

whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. add to the salad, followed by the cilantro. give a few tosses to make sure all the ingredients are well coated. add salt and pepper to taste.

enjoy room temperature or chilled.