Toasted Orzo Salad with Lemon and Chickpeas

Toasted Orzo Salad with Lemon and Feta

I could cook pasta every night of the week and make everyone happy. But at the same time I like to make a meal that falls under my definition of “healthy” and “delicious”.

Orzo is familiar as a side dish or floating in soup, but I find that toasting it first and mixing it with lots of vegetables makes it ten times more complex and interesting.

I’ve played on the Greek heritage of orzo in this recipe and borrowed from the Mediterranean pantry by using chickpeas, cumin, lemon and tangy feta cheese. I would serve this on a pile of arugula and call it lunch or dinner.

Toasted Orzo Salad with Lemon and Chickpeas

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup orzo pasta

2 tablespoons butter

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

¼ cup chopped fresh dill

1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup chopped seedless or Persian cucumber

Baby arugula greens

Instructions

  1. Warm a dry 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat; add the orzo and toast until golden brown and nutty-smelling, about 10 minutes, tossing the pan frequently. Remove from the heat and cool.
  2. Bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil and cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and transfer to a bowl along with the butter, stirring until butter melts completely.
  3. Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper; pour over the orzo. Add the chickpeas, pine nuts, dill and cucumber to the bowl and gently toss together. Top with the cheese and serve over the arugula.
http://familystylefood.com/2012/05/toasted-orzo-salad-with-lemon-and-chickpeas/

Family Favorite Lasagna with Basil Bechamel Sauce

It seems fitting that to debut the new FamilyStyle Food, I offer you one of our favorite family recipes.

I’ve made this lasagna over and over; for friends with new babies, family potlucks and my DinnerStyle clients alike. It’s a variation of a recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook and it never fails to please.

Pasta Primavera with Asparagus and Poached Egg, Locavore Style

photo by Josh Monken for Sauce

Simple Springtime Feast
I’m all about eating local now that our farmer’s markets are open for business and offering freshly picked spring vegetables like radishes and asparagus.

And I’ll find just about any excuse to eat fresh pasta, especially when the entire dish features ingredients that I’ve sourced locavore-style. I have a thing for oozy poached eggs, and using them as a topper for pastas and salads provides little extra protein and brilliant orange color.

I wrote a feature about this recipe which appears in the May, 2008 issue Sauce Magazine, which I had posted recently but have removed for copyright reasons – instead, you can read the original at the Sauce website.

photo by Josh Monken for Sauce
Fettuccine Primavera with Goat Cheese, Crisp Prosciutto and Poached Egg

4 thin slices prosciutto
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened at room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Finely grated zest and juice from half a lemon
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch asparagus, stems trimmed and sliced into 2-inch pieces
9 ounces fresh fettuccine or tagliatelle pasta
4 soft-poached quail eggs*

1. Arrange the prosciutto on a small baking sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until crisp. Cool slightly and break into pieces. (prepare up to one day ahead – keep in a covered container at room temperature)

2. Crumble the goat cheese into a large mixing bowl. Add the cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper to taste and stir until smooth.

3. Bring 5 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan and add 1 tablespoon salt. Drop in asparagus and cook until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove asparagus with a slotted spoon and add to the goat cheese mixture. Add pasta to the pan and cook 1 – 2 minutes, or according to directions. Scoop out a ladleful of pasta water (about 1/3 cup) and pour it into the goat cheese mixture, stirring to melt cheese and make a smooth sauce. Drain pasta and toss with the goat cheese until evenly coated with sauce.

4. Divide pasta between two serving bowls. Top with poached eggs and sprinkle with prosciutto.

Serves 2

* To poach eggs, bring a small skillet full of water to a simmer. Add a tablespoon of plain white vinegar. Crack eggs into the pan; keeping heat at a steady simmer (not boiling), cook eggs until whites are firm and yolks are just set, about 2 minutes for quail eggs and 4 minutes for chicken eggs. Remove with a slotted spoon.

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