Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

(originally made 7/2011)

I guess one good thing came out of my MasterCook program crashing last week- I've spent a ton of time combing the web trying to replace everything and I've found a TON of winners this week.    Today's dinner is another one!  I found the recipe on Abigmouthful.com via Foodgawker. 

I had part of a bunch of asparagus leftover from Alliea's bacon wrapped asparagus and had some nice cherry tomatoes and thought this would be a nice simple dinner.    I don't like my asparagus boiled, so I cooked it to crisp-tender in my grill pan with a teaspoon of olive oil.   No other changes to the recipe except to sub dried parsley for the fresh, I never got my herb garden started this year.    

This was light but filling, really hit the spot on a hot day.  It would also be nice with some grilled chicken added to it for a heartier meal.

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  12               oz.  orzo
  1              bunch  fresh asparagus -- cut into 1-inch pieces (cooked mine in grill pan w/1t olive oil)
  1               pint  grape or cherry tomatoes -- halved
  1                     lemon -- zested and juiced
  4               Tbs.  extra virgin olive oil
  1              clove  garlic -- minced
  2               Tbs.  fresh parsley -- minced- used Penzey's dried
                        Kosher salt
                        Fresh ground pepper
                        Grated Parmigiano Reggiano*

Bring 2 large pots of water to boil.  Add a big pinch of salt in each.

To one pot, add asparagus and blanch, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.  Place blanched asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green.

To the second pot, add the orzo.  Cook per package instructions.  When tender, drain and place in a large bowl.  Add blanched asparagus and tomato halves.

Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Stir into orzo and vegetables.  Stir in parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

This can be served warm, room temperature or cold.

*Note:  If you want to keep this salad vegan, leave out the Parmigiano Reggiano.



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