Monday, July 10, 2017

Orzo Salad with Pecorino, Radicchio, and Chickpeas

Back when I was a mother to only a little boy, I told myself that I would be perfectly happy only raising boys. As a little girl, I was never really fond of fancy dresses, makeup, jewelry, beads, or heels like many other children my age. My younger sister was fascinated by all those things and I used to think she was truly strange. All that has changed now that I have two little girls of my own. They both are tough, rough, and strong-willed little things but boy do they love all the glittery, sparkly, princessy things you can imagine. Tiaras, gowns, wands, rings, bracelets, makeup, and girls can't get enough. Emma hardly goes anywhere without her purse or ordained with some jewelry, sunglasses, or other accessories and Lucy is starting to imitate her.

Sometimes a girl needs two purses for all her necessities...

Lucy prefers a simpler approach to her outfits. A t-shirt and matching diaper are the perfect compliment to her heels. Classy, classy.

Isn't this ridiculous?...

A friend of ours recently bequeathed the girls some plastic heels and the two of them can be heard clicking and clacking all over our house. There certainly has been more than one wipe-out on our slick hardwood floors.

But even while dressed up as a girly-girl, Emma can almost certainly be found beating up her older brother. I kind of love that about her.

My dainty little princesses certainly do not prefer dainty food - like salads. Pass them ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, or just about anything that makes a huge mess or leaves gigantic stains on their pretty clothing! Maybe one day they will grow up to love their vegetables like their mommy.

And speaking of vegetables and salads, orzo salad is one of my newest obsessions. I can eat a big bowl of this for dinner and be completely satisfied. This recipe in particular is right up my alley because it incorporates a plentiful amount of healthy greens and beans into the pasta to create a dish that is light and fresh yet perfectly filling on a hot day. This would be the complimentary side dish to serve with some grilled chicken, salmon, or even steak! It also makes a great alternative to potato salad or coleslaw at a barbecue or potluck. You can change up the cheeses and add-ins to create your own unique combination of flavors. Try queso fresco, cilantro, lime juice, black beans, and fresh sweet corn for a southwest twist! Or kalamata olives, feta cheese, red onion, mint, and cucumber for a Mediterranean spin! The possibilities are truly endless.

Orzo Salad with Pecorino, Radicchio, and Chickpeas
from Cook's Country Feb/March 2017

1 1/4 cups orzo pasta
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces baby arugula, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 cup)
1/2 small head radicchio, cored and chopped fine
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Bring 2 quart water to boil in large saucepan. Ad orzo and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Drain orzo and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Combine the vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Slowly whisk in remaining 5 tablespoons oil until emulsified. Add arugula, Pecorino Romano, radicchio, chickpeas, basil, and cooled orzo to dressing and toss to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let salad sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Serve, drizzled with extra oil if desired. The salad can be refrigerated for up to two days.

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