Orzo is really one of the most versatile pastas. Its small, rice-like shape lends itself to so many possibilities: soups, salads, pilafs; hot or cold, it’s awesome. In the summer, I love substituting a hot starch with a cold, refreshing pasta salad. It’s also a great base for adding loads of your favorite veggies. The below version is fairly basic since I didn’t have a lot on hand, but you can beef it up by adding red onions, olives, roasted red peppers, zucchini, etc. I topped mine with grilled lemon chicken breasts to complete the meal.
mediterranean orzo salad
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 2 roma or san marzano tomatoes, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup orzo
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup feta
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium pot, bring water to boil. Add orzo and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, garlic, feta, salt and pepper together until well combined. Continue to whisk while adding olive oil.
- Dice vegetables and add to chilled pasta in a large serving bowl. Stir in dressing and serve!
Bacon + blue cheese + perfectly ripe peaches + buttery pastry dough + honey drizzle = all of your food dreams come true. Not only will this recipe blow your mind over its deliciousness but also over how easy it is to throw together. The only regret I have after making this recipe was not making two of them right off the bat.
Note: I made this recipe with packaged puff pastry dough. If you’re a purist, then by all means, make the dough yourself. One sheet of pastry dough was enough for my husband and I, but any more mouths would’ve called for another sheet.
Bacon Brie and Blue Peach Tart
- 1 sheet packaged puff pastry dough, thawed
- 3 strips of bacon, diced
- 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
- 1 8 oz wheel of brie
- 1/4 cup of blue cheese
- 2 ripe peaches, finely sliced
- 2 T honey
- 1 T fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small pan, fry diced bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towel.
- Roll puff pastry dough into a 12″ square on a large, greased cookie sheet and roll until thin and even.
- Top dough with brie, red onion, bacon bits, blue cheese, making sure you leave at least 1/2 inch of dough around the edges of the square. Top with sliced peaches. Fold edges in and press to make a small ridge around the tart. Top with a few cranks of freshly cracked black pepper.
- Cook until pastry is bubbly and golden and cheese is melted, about 20-25 minutes.
- Drizzle tart evenly with honey and fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
Ahh, gazpacho. So refreshing, so healthy, so summery. When I lived in NYC, I became obsessed with Westville’s cold tomato gazpacho. I mean obsessed. Like, went there multiple times a week during the summer just to get it. And I knew there was something unique about it that I couldn’t put my finger on. After ordering my 5th batch, I finally noticed something mysterious floating around in that heavenly concoction: pears. Genius! I reproduced my own version this weekend using said pear, cucumber, and a slew of other veggies. I served it topped with sliced avocado and cilantro and avocado jalapeno grilled cheeses on the side. Eat your heart out, Westville.
cucumber and pear gazpacho
- 1 cucumber, cubed
- 1 pear, cubed
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 large vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups of tomato juice (I used V8)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Set aside a handful of chopped vegetables for garnish. Place cucumber, pear, onion, peppers, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic into blender or food processor (I use my Ninja) and mix until finely chopped. If you like your soup smoother, go ahead and mix until pureed.
- Place mixture into a large bowl and add cumin, hot sauce, and vinegar and stir until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- You can serve immediately but note that the flavor of the gazpacho will intensify with time! Making ahead a few hours is ideal. Top with remaining vegetables before serving. I also topped mine with sliced avocado and cilantro.
I planted my very first vegetable garden this year and it turned out to be somewhat of a disaster. I went a little crazy on the seeds and overcrowded it, resulting in 8-feet high peppers and peas (and weeds). But thanks to their monstrous size, I got a ton of peas. I don’t cook with peas often so I really had no clue what to do with them.
On a recent trip to Chicago, I had lunch with my sister at La Pizza & La Pasta inside of Eataly. I had the most light and airy ravioli stuffed with spring peas, ricotta, pecorino and mint. All slathered in butter. It was amazing, and the perfect solution to my pea conundrum. My version adds fresh lemon zest to brighten the peas and lighten the richness of the butter.
Note: I make my ravioli with the KitchenAid ravioli attachment (it’s great, I highly recommend it!), but I’ve included the handmade version below.
Fresh Pea and Ricotta Ravioli with Lemon Butter Sauce
For the Ravioli:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 eggs
For the Filling:
- 1.5 cups of fresh peas, shelled
- 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- In an electric mixing bowl with the dough hook attachment, mix flour and salt until combined. Add eggs one at a time. Drizzle olive oil into the mix, and stir until dough becomes a large ball and clings to the hook.
- Remove dough and place on surface sprinkled with flour. Knead until soft and pliable, about 2 minutes (video tutorial here). Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, blanch peas until soft (about 3-4 minutes) and place in a food processor with ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. (Note: I had to add about a tablespoon of water to get the consistency I needed). Set aside.
- Once pasta dough has rested, cut the ball of dough in half and cover the rest you are not using. Dust the counter with flour, form the dough into a rectangle, and flatten. Roll through your pasta roller several times, decreasing the size settings with every turn. The dough should be paper-thin, or as thin as you can get it without producing holes.
- If you’re making your ravioli by hand: lay your pasta sheet on the counter and place 2 tsp. mounds of filling along middle of dough, spacing the mounds around 1″ apart. Brush dough with water. Take another sheet of pasta and lay it over the other sheet of pasta and mounds of filling; press dough to seal, squeezing out air pockets around filling. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut out ravioli. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Bring large pot of water to boil. In a separate pot, melt butter on low-medium setting and add garlic and lemon zest. Once water is ready, add ravioli and cook until the pockets float to the surface of the water. Drain pasta and transfer to butter mixture and toss until coated.
- Garnish with parmesan, fresh grated lemon, and freshly ground black pepper.
This three-berry trifle is the easiest dessert recipe you will ever make. Probably not the healthiest, but definitely the easiest.
I was determined to finish mulching my yard this weekend and I finally did it. But then I realized we were having my in-laws over for 4th of July and I had absolutely nothing planned. One glance at my fridge, a quick run to the store, and I was able to whip this up in 15 minutes.
- 16 oz heavy whipping cream
- 4 T granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 packaged angel food cake (you can make your own but this makes it really, really easy)
- 2 cups chopped or sliced strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup blackberries
- In a medium or large mixing bowl, pour in heavy cream and beat on high until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat for a few seconds. Once combined, place in refrigerator to chill.
- Cut angel food cake into 1-2″ cubes. I sliced the cake in half lengthwise with a long bread knife and cut smaller portions from there.
- Place a layer of angel food cake cubes in the bottom of a mixing or serving bowl. Add berries, cream and repeat.
Yeah, it’s that easy.