These orzo salads are becoming quite fun to prepare. I’ve actually got two more lined up for later in the month. I think the best thing about them is that they’re so simple to double up on and Laura and I have something to add to dinner for most of the week. Now, that’s my kind of cooking.
This recipe is mostly prep, with a bit of cooking. The prep is primarily chopping. I’d say you can complete everything, even the cooking of the pasta, within 20 minutes, which makes this recipe perfect for during the week.
Radicchio vs. Red Cabbage
Let’s talk about radicchio for a moment. When I first chopped this vegetable last night and tasted it, I had no idea why Cook’s Country included this ingredient in their recipe. It’s rather bitter. It also looks just like red cabbage, but it’s more expensive. I did some research on what the differences were between red cabbage and radicchio and found this resource:
Even though I found it bitter, I followed through with the completion of the recipe. When it was done, I realized why someone might want to include this. First, the bitterness seemed to disappear as it was mixed with the other ingredients. Also, the texture is very nice. The leaves of radicchio are much softer and thinner than those of red cabbage and that makes a difference. When it was combined with the soft texture of the orzo, it all came together.
1 Pound Box of Orzo
Regular Table Salt
Ground Black Pepper
12 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 Ounces Parmesan Cheese, Shredded (2 Cups)
1 Head Radicchio, Chopped
2 Cans of Chickpeas (15 Ounces), Rinsed
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 Bunch of Scallions
I want to offer a word of warning here. The ingredient list above will create a substantial amount of orzo salad. Please be sure your large bowl is actually large enough. When it comes to cold salads like this, it’s always fun to have lots of leftovers. That’s why I usually double up on everything.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil on your stove top. Add 1 tablespoon of regular table salt to the water as it’s boiling.
Prep the Ingredients
Like I mentioned earlier, the majority of the work with the recipe is during the prep. With that in mind, go ahead and prepare your 1 pound of orzo pasta by dumping it in a medium sized bowl. I take this step for simple awareness. I prefer to have all the necessary bowls lined up on the counter for quick access as I’m cooking.
Next, chop the 1 head of radicchio, the 1 cup of fresh parsley and the bunch of scallions.
After those ingredients are ready, open the 2 cans of chickpeas and rinse them in a colander.
In a large bowl (see warning above), add the 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of regular table salt, 10 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Whisk until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Add Pasta to Water
By this time, the water should be boiling. Go ahead and add the orzo to the boiling water and cook until almost al dente. When finished, strain the orzo in a colander and return to original pot. Add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to it and stir. Let cool completely.
Add Final Ingredients
Now that the vinaigrette is made in the large bowl, add the chopped radicchio, parsley and scallions to it. Also add the rinsed chickpeas. Mix well.
Finally, add the 2 cups of shredded Parmesan cheese and the orzo to the large bowl. Mix well, plate and serve.
The Final Dish
This wasn’t a challenging dish to photograph at all. Due to its bright nature and good color, things turned out well quickly. The final dish is very tasty. As I mentioned above, it’s got some nice textures and the ingredients play well off each other. This is a perfect accompaniment to many main dishes.
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