This orzo salad is one classic from my summer cooking repertoire.
People who love summer salads, please, take note of this recipe. It will be one of your next favorite. Maybe. I hope.
The reasons why I love this dish are many and varied.
It is one of that dish I cook for all the Summer season.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about new salad recipes. I discovered that, like my maternal grandmother, I also love to mix the flavours of fruit and vegetables to create salad recipes that are rich in savours, good and also beautiful to serve. And it is precisely from this reflection, and from the experiments that I am doing, that this recipe is born.
Orzo Salad: a dish where I combine all the summer produce, fruits and vegetables.
Not only it is the perfect recipe for using very common summer vegetables like zucchini. It’s also quite quick to preparare; it can be cook the day in advance (and simply preserved in the fridge) and, lastly, it’s a good cold dish when hot weather calls for fresh tastes.
Healthy and tasty, this recipe is versatile yet. It’s especially convenient for picnics, garden dinner and buffet. Of course, it’s a good idea for every day meal and for lunch box.
If you serve it like one dish, adding a side.
I made my orzo salad with a batch of summer veggies: zucchini, zucchini’s flower, basil, figs and grapes. And what makes really wow the orzo salad recipe is the taste of no-garlic pesto mixed with the sweetness of fresh figs and green grapes.
Monica, buona cucina
To make this salad, use orzo or farro. As wrote Jamie Oliver “Farro is a grain similar to pearl barley (orzo), but it’s dried in such a way that instead of being fluffy and spongy it becomes chewy and nutty” and in Italy it was used since by the ancient Romans.
You can opt also for rice.
Usually I dress the salad with a very simple basil sauce (basil, water and just olive oil). But sometimes I prepare a no-garlic basil pesto. Blend together fresh basil, a few almonds, 1 little boiled potato, and a handful of boiled green beans with a few tablespoons of olive oil and warm water.
Often I use the perfect handmade pesto of a young farmer lady, Chiara Boschi. She is the owner of an organic farm located in Romagna and close to Bologna. She’s also protagonist of a blogpost available in the section dedicated to the story behind the food.
Use farro, orzo or even rice, to your taste and pleasure. Spelt and barley are my favorite in this case. You can also choose a mix of barley and spelt.
200 g barley
300 g zucchini
2-3 ripe figs
5 zucchini’ flowers
grapes, about 20
organic basil leaves, about 15
salt and extra virgin olive oil to taste
Wash all the vegetables separately, even the grapes, and set aside.
Boil orzo following the cooking instructions or until it’s al dente. Drain, and wash boiled orzo under cold water, season with a little oil and salt set aside.
Take zucchini and cut off the stem and blossom ends. Chop them into bite-size pieces, and cook over medium-low heat with salt and a little olive oil till soften but crunchy. Set aside.
Clean the zucchini flowers removing the pistil, cut into thin slices and cook in a pan with a little of olive oil for a minute or two.
Remove the peel from the figs and cut the flesh into pieces.
Blend the basil with olive oil, 3 tablespoons of water and, if you like, the grated peel of half a lemon (even less).
In a bowl mix orzo, basil sauce and zucchini flowers. Then add the zucchini, season with oil and salt, mix well. At last add figs and grapes and mix gently.
Keep in the refrigerator until 10 minutes before serving.
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