A few weeks ago, I had the questionable pleasure of throwing a baby shower for a friend, questionable because I'm not what most would consider a real party-planning type. I don't know if our friends realized this and therefore volunteered to share the burden or if they're just great like that, but I didn't really end up doing a whole lot. The games/prizes were planned by someone else (thank heavens!) and several of them even brought food, including a delicious pasta salad that gave me the inspiration for this one.
The thing I found most interesting about this salad is that the zucchini isn't cooked. It had never occurred to me to eat zucchini uncooked. I don't know why; it just seemed weird. Shouldn't zucchini always be sauteed in a hearty amount of butter or breaded or grilled? Raw zucchini weeps and becomes as slimy as a cucumber, but without the flavor. Right?
Wrong! Raw zucchini is delicious and flavorful and not a bit slimy. I was quite surprised. It made this pasta salad even better because in the middle of the blazing hot summer, you needn't turn on the oven for even 1 minute. Just one small pot to boil water for a few minutes and the heat is gone, leaving you with a dang tasty pasta salad. Marvelous.
Zucchini Orzo Salad
Recipe by Kelly
Pictures by Kelly
1 package (1 lb) orzo pasta
3 medium zucchini, sliced sliced 1/2 inch thick, then quartered
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- In a large pot, bring well-salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook about 8 minutes, or until orzo is just slightly al dente (slightly firm). Drain and rinse in cold water (this will help prevent the pasta from absorbing all the oil and lemon juice).
- Toss the zucchini and tomatoes with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Add more salt or lemon juice, to taste. Chill and serve.