I think I mentioned before that my sister just graduated from her Masters program. She had a party afterward to celebrate, and when I asked if I could bring anything, she said, "That orzo salad. With zucchini and squash." And that was all the more descriptive she could get. Luckily I was pretty sure I knew what she was talking about, so I was able to pull something together.
Also, I'll be giving instructions for a single batch of the salad, but I ended up making a double batch, so if you're wondering why it looks like so much pasta or veggies or whatever, that's why.
The first ingredient for the vinaigrette is dijon mustard. Spoon a bunch of it into a plastic Ziploc bag.
If you don't have white balsamic, regular would be fine. I used white here because I didn't want the pasta to turn brownish. Nothing wrong with the flavor there--just takes away from the bright colors of the vegetables.
Add some olive oil, too. I guess I didn't photograph this? Or it looked exactly like the white balsamic going in. Upon reflection, this picture might be of olive oil. Or it might be of balsamic. Who knows. Add both.
Give the bag a good dose of salt and pepper and then a good squish to mix all the ingredients together.
Recipe: Nikki's Orzo Salad
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
juice from 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
2 summer squash, quartered
1 large red onion, halved and thickly sliced
2 zucchini, quartered
3 mini bell pepper (or 1 large), seeded and halved
1 lb. orzo pasta
1/4 c. fresh parsley, minced
3 tbsp. fresh basil, julienned
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 package mozzarella pearls
In a large Ziploc bag, combine mustard, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
Add squash, onions, zucchini, and bell pepper to bag. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare orzo pasta as directed on the package. Run under cool water when cooked fully.
Grill marinated vegetables over high heat until charred on all sides. Let cool slightly. Cut into bite-sized pieces and add to pasta. Pour leftover marinade over orzo pasta.
Add parsley, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella to orzo pasta. Toss. Taste to check seasonings. Serve right away or let sit to allow flavors to mature.