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From the SCCC Kitchen: Orzo recipe delicious alternative at a picnic

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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Orzo with Roasted Vegetables is a summertime favorite of SCCC educational aide Lois Keefrider. It’s typically served at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about it being cold or hot.
Photographer: Marc Schultz
Orzo with Roasted Vegetables is a summertime favorite of SCCC educational aide Lois Keefrider. It’s typically served at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about it being cold or hot.

“From the SCCC Kitchen” offers tastes from Schenectady County Community College’s culinary arts program. Today, educational aide Lois Keefrider teams eggplant, peppers, onions and garlic with pasta. The finished dish is Orzo with Roasted Vegetables.

Orzo is OK with Lois Keefrider.

The chef puts the short-cut pasta, shaped like large grains of rice, into her new favorite recipe.

“It’s just got vibrant flavors and there’s lots of vegetables, fresh vegetables like peppers and red onions,” Keefrider said. “It’s a very nice summertime dish.”

What’s especially nice is people can make the pasta-and-vegetable extravaganza ahead of time. The orzo and extras will benefit from a night in the refrigerator — the flavors will have a chance to blend.

“You can add the final things just before you go to serve it,” Keefrider said. “It’s typically served at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about it being cold or hot.”

The finished bowl also adds variety to summer picnic tables, which often contain tossed, potato and other macaroni-type salads. “I’ve made this three times in the last two weeks,” Keefrider said.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

1 small eggplant, peeled, 3⁄4-inch diced

1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced

1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced

1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 pound orzo

For dressing:

1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For final assembly:

4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)

1⁄4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1⁄2 pound feta cheese, 1⁄2-inch diced (not crumbled)

15 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion and garlic with the olive oil, salt and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling, salted water until tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables.

Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8.

 
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