Orzo [summer orzo salad]

This summer has been surprisingly relaxing.  Typically, I’m out of town each weekend, but this summer I’ve been hanging around D.C. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I think it has a lot to do with the World Cup.  My husband does not look forward to anything as much as he looks forward to a month of intense soccer.  So call it a stay-cation or call it boring, I’m finding lots to do just outside my four walls.  Though I work most mornings in the summer, I have the afternoons to myself.  I’ve adopted a summer uniform and a couple of go-to summer dishes that I eat out on my balcony.

Without further ado, the uniform:

I wish I had three of these shirts, but sadly, I only have one.  It’s so lightweight, you can layer a tank under it or wear it by itself, and it’s super soft.  The color is just barely there, but it goes perfect with my summer “neutral”…

Nantucket Read.  Or as J.Crew is calling it this year, “pale cinnabar.”  Whatever.  I pair it with yellow oxfords, light blue polos, and of course, my new favorite summer shirt.

And the shoes that leave me in eager anticipation of Memorial Day every year (I will not wear them before, I don’t care what you say).  Jack Rogers.  I know there is an intense rivalry between JRs and Stephen Bonannos, but I side with Jack.  I remember eating lunch at some club in Southampton one summer when I was 7 or 8.  Lined up all along the deck were heaps of the same sandal, their owners having trekked to the beach below.  I was floored (and looking back I am no longer surprised) that everyone there wore the same shoe.  Jack Rogers.  So that’s what I wear.

Well, that and my wayfarers.  Which are not the real deal, but are instead cheap imitations.  I wear them for two reasons.  The first is that I firmly believe the only accessory one needs in the summer is a solid pair of sunglasses.  Anything else is superfluous.  The second is that I am blonde-haired, blue-eyed and squinty in sun, or anything remotely like it.  I wear sunglasses year round.

So that’s my uniform.  What’s for lunch, you ask?  That’s easy:  orzo.  My go-to summer food.  You can combine it with just about anything and end up with the perfect salad.  Sure, you’ve seen orzo salads before, but this is my favorite.  Probably because it’s meat-free, which gives it a lightness that the others can’t achieve.

What’s that you say?  You see chicken in there?  Ugh, my cover is blown.  I much prefer this salad meatless, but I live with the dictionary definition of a carnivore, who must have protein in his lunch.  Alas.

To make this salad, I took a recipe from Giada, and changed a lot about it to suit my every need.  It’s worth noting here that Giada is the queen of orzo, having provided the base for not one, but two of my go-to orzo salads.  For this particular one, you will need:

  • 1 pound of orzo (more than Giada calls for because I like a decent amount of pasta)
  • 1 1/2 C frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 C grape, cherry or teardrop tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 C basil, julienned
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red wine vinaigrette (please do make your own, the recipe follows)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt.  Pour in the orzo and cook for 4 minutes.  Add the peas and cook for 3-4 more.  Drain and let cool completely.  When cool, throw everything in a bowl and toss.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Woohoo!  That’s all it takes.

For the dressing, you will need:

  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Mix everything (I just do this in the measuring cup) and whisk.  Pour over the salad.

Let me tell you, with a bowl of this salad, a glass of lemonade (spiked or not, whatever works for you) and a trashy beach read, I’m a happy camper.

7 thoughts on “Orzo [summer orzo salad]

  1. Pingback: Red, White and Green « a glass of milk

  2. Pingback: Orzo 2.0 | a glass of milk

  3. Word to the (not so) wise… pay attention to vinegar types, and if your husband isn’t interested in a strong vinegar taste go easy with the dressing. Also apparently orzo can burn to the bottom of a pot full of water, go figure.

  4. Pingback: The Story Behind the Menu – a 60-something birthday lunch [zesty slow cooker chicken barbecue] | a glass of milk

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