Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Peas, and Tomatoes

Orzo Salad #3
A cold pasta salad is the perfect accompaniment to a summer grilling party or a luncheon. This pasta salad is light, full of flavor and crunch from the fresh vegetables. The peas are uncooked and go straight from the freezer to the salad. That way the peas don’t wrinkle and they keep their bright green color. The lemon dressing is specific to this salad. When you taste it you will think the flavors are too strong but the dressing has to be bold to flavor one pound of pasta! Happy Cooking!

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Peas and Tomatoes– makes around twenty- 1/2 cup servings

One 16 ounce package orzo
1 red pepper, 1/2 inch dice
15 ounces grape tomatoes, whole
1 pound fresh asparagus, trim ends then cut remaining stalk into 1 inch pieces
10 ounces frozen peas
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Lemon vinaigrette- recipe below

Prepare lemon vinaigrette. Prep red pepper, asparagus and parsley. Make an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice cubes, 1 teaspoon salt and cold water. Set aside. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, saving hot pasta water. Run cold water over orzo and drain again. In an extra large serving dish or bowl pour in orzo. Stir in lemon vinaigrette. There may be more dressing than you need but the pasta will absorb all the extra dressing and its flavors.

Place asparagus in hot pasta water and let sit for 1 minute. Drain asparagus and pour in the prepared ice bath. Let the asparagus sit for several minutes in the ice bath then drain and remove ice.

In a large bowl combine, orzo, red pepper, tomatoes, asparagus, peas, and parsley. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to let the flavors mingle. Will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup shallot, minced
1 teaspoon honey
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon stone ground Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in a mason jar. Shake to combine.

Published in The News and Neighbor on May 25, 2016

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