Orzo Salad with Grilled Zucchini & Red Peppers

One of the things I love about summer is the BBQs and fresh foods. While so many pasta salads are made with mayo or Italian dressing, I like to mix it up a bit. I’ve made this pasta salad a couple of times, varying both the veggies and herbs that get mixed in.

Orzo Salad with Grilled Zucchini & Red Peppers

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 80 (p. 36, 39)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the Rosemary Oil

  • 1 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped off and minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Let cook about 5 minutes, until the flavors fused and the oil is bubbling (let oil bubble/sizzle 2-3 minutes).  Set aside to cool. Extra oil may be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Ingredients for the Salad:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 1/4 lb. zucchini
  • 5+ Tbs. rosemary oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 lb. orzo pasta (or fregola or other small pasta)

Grill the Veggies: Heat grill to medium heat.

Note: If you’re using a grill basket to grill the veggies, its easiest to cut into 1-inch chunks before grilling. If not, slice both peppers and zucchini into quarters.

Toss veggies with 2 Tbs. oil, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Grill until veggies have nice grill marks and are tender, tossing as necessary. Remove from heat.

Make Pasta Salad: Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain.

Toss grilled veggies, pasta, red wine vinegar, and remaining 3 Tbs. rosemary oil. Add additional rosemary, oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

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