Quite a while ago I went looking for an orzo pasta salad that didn't include cheese. Though I love cheese with orzo (I've made Orzo 'Risotto', Orzo Pasta Salad with feta and an as yet un-posted orzo with cheese dish), I needed to find a recipe that my 93 year old Grandma, who currently isn't allowed cheese, could eat.
That wasn't the easiest thing to find. Seems lots of folks like to mix their orzo with cheese. I spent lots of time perusing recipe sites and using search engines trying to find something that was easy, portable and tasty looking that also didn't contain any offending cheese. When I came across this recipe from the blog site WasabiBratwurst I knew I had found the right dish. Besides, with a blog name like WasabiBratwurst and a tag line of "A Food Blog Full of Simple and Easy Recipes" I figured I had stuck gold.
I followed most of their directions but, being me, I had to question things that weren't spelled out for me in detail. The recipe asked for one 16-oz can of artichoke hearts in water. And it asks to add it to the recipe. Was I supposed to cut the artichokes up? Put them in whole? Add the water in the can? I elected to cutting them up (sorta dicing them like the peppers). In hindsight I would probably leave them just a bit bigger. I also drained them before dicing.
The recipe also said to drain the pasta? Drain? But there was no pasta water left. I had what looked like Rice-a-Roni, that yellow glop. I did have a bit of a panic that I had done something wrong. Do I rinse the pasta? But a quick check at other similar recipes online had no one rinsing the orzo so I left it as is. After cooling and adding the remaining ingredients, the pasta separated just fine.
The recipe made a great dish and it was pretty easy and quick to put together. I was also happy with the substitution of Agave Nectar instead of honey, since it made it okay for diabetics too. Do check out the WasabiBratwurst site for more great sounding recipes (yes, I've made quite a list of what I would like to try from their blog).
Note: I used Meyer lemons from my Grams tree. I used agave nectar instead of honey. I left out the fresh basil and fresh mint.
Note: I put the orzo on a baking sheet and put it in the fridge to cool. This worked great.
Note: My pasta really soaked up the vinaigrette so I used the entire amount.
This was easy to make a day ahead and traveled well to it's destination (a couple of hours away). Leftovers were awesome for lunches. It's a good dish to have in my repertoire for when a cold pasta salad is needed.