“Fresh as a Summer Breeze”

In the middle of a hot summer, the last thing you want to do is light up the stove or oven. To the rescue comes this fresh summer orzo salad. It’s best prepared in the morning while the kitchen is still cool. Plus sitting in the fridge all day melds the flavors, making more delicious by dinner time. Fresh summer ingredients are especially important. Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cups dried orzo pasta
  • 1 can (15oz.) garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cups red and yellow teardrop or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add the broth to a heavy large sauce pot. Cover the pot and bring the broth to a boil over high heat.
  2. Stir in the orzo, and cook until tender but still firm to the bit, stirring often for about 7 minutes (roughly about a minute less than package instructions).
  3. Drain the orzo completely through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly, then set aside to cool completely.
  4. Carefully toss the orzo with the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint and sufficient vinaigrette to coat. (Don’t overdo the vinaigrette or the salad will get soggy. You can always add more later.)
  5. Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature with Italian antipasti meats.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  1. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a blender (or whisk very briskly).
  2. While blending or whisking, gradually blend in the oil.
  3. Season the vinaigrette to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.

*Wine Recommendation: Rose’, baby! This salad begs for a dry rose’, preferably one from the Tavel region of France, renowned for its crisp, dry and flavorful blush wines.

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