Great Summer Side: Tri-Colore Orzo
I have made this orzo dish several times and everyone loves it! It’s just a great combo of flavors — sweetness from the cherries, saltiness from the ricotta salata, some freshness from the basil and arugula, and little crunch from the pine nuts.
A couple of quick notes, I use baby arugula because I prefer the flavor and you can buy it pre-washed in a clamshell. I have made the recipe with dried cranberries and feta when I cannot find dried cherries and ricotta salata.
To toast the pine nuts, just cook them in a small frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes. The nuts will start to darken in color. Keep an eye on them — I have burned many nuts and sesame seeds by forgetting about the toasting in progress.
Overall, a great summer side!
Giada De Laurentiis
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
- 2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
- 3/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese (or feta cheese)
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool.
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.