recipe: verdura arrostita con risoni di limone

On a really hot day, finding a nice cooling meal can sometimes be a challenge. A few weeks back I made verdura e fagioli di cannelloni arrostita (roasted cannelloni beans and veggies) and the idea behind it came out so well we decided to combine the basis of that dish with lemon orzo and serve it as a salad meal.

The roasted veggies can include whatever seasonal favorites you want to include. A few we didn’t use, but still would be good include fennel, eggplant, leeks, artichokes, mushrooms, English cucumbers, pine nuts, etc. When roasting, we used a broiler to include a nice char on them (since we didn’t have access to a grill), but an oven between 450-500 degrees is another method to consider. The fresher the veggies the better. Although this could be done with frozen or canned the roasting process won’t quite work the same. A few suggestions would be to try and balance the colors so you have as rich a meal visually and to balance the textures so there are some crunchy elements to offset the softness of some of the vegetables and the risoni.

The risoni is also known as orzo, a pasta that looks like a large grain of rice. The risoni could be substituted with arborio rice to make a risotto or a long grain rice, or even another pasta, etc. to get the same basic effect.

Risoni (orzo)
lemon (zest and juice)
olive oil
small tomoatoes (grape or cherry)
onion (red or vadalia)
red bell pepper
zucchini
yellow squash
asparagus
broccoli (rabe or flowered)
cannelloni beans
garlic
black pepper (cracked)
coriander (ground)
flat leaf parsley (preferred fresh)
Mixing bowls
Roasting Pan / Cookie sheet (broiler safe)
Large Pot

You can make a stock out of all the excess veggie parts to boil the orzo in, but it’s not necessary.

In one of the mixing bowls zest the lemons
Juice the lemons into the same mixing bowl, be careful to collect the pits and not include them
With aprox 2:1 mixture of olive oil to lemon add oil to the mixing bowl
Add fresh cracked black pepper, coriander and parsley to mixing bowl and then whisk the mixture. Set aside to allow flavors to meld, being sure to re-whisk on occasion.
typically you should make about 2:1 dried orzo to dressing (so 2 cups of dried orzo = 1 cup of dressing)

Julienne the pepper and onion and place in the another mixing bowl
Cut the broccoli into florettes and use however much of the cut up stem as you like and place in the mixing bowl.
Snap off the ends of the asparagus, cult stalks in half and place in the mixing bowl
Add a small amount of oil, black pepper and a pinch of salt to the bowl with the vegetables and toss lightly to coat.
Transfer the vegetables to the roasting pan and place under the broiler. Roast until the tops just begin to brown, do not over char, turn once and continue roasting until the second side begins to brown.
If any of the veggies (such as the peppers) require additional roasting you can leave them on the tray for the second roasting.
When the first veggies are roasted carefully remove them to the cutting board and then run a rough chop through everything to ensure it’s bite sized.

Begin the water boiling for the orzo in the pot while the first veggies are roasting. If you are doing just water and not stock, it would still be worth boiling the lemon rinds in the orzo water along with whole coriander seeds and black pepper corns and then skimming them out before adding the orzo just to help set the flavor in the orzo.

While the first veggies are roasting place the tomatoes in the mixing bowl
Cut the zucchini and summer squash length wise in half, then cut into half rounds and place in the mixing bowl
Slice the garlic cloves in half and add them to the mixing bowl
Rinse and add the white beans to the mixing bowl
Add a small amount of oil, black pepper and a pinch of salt to the bowl with the vegetables and toss lightly to coat.
Transfer the vegetables to the roasting pan and place under the broiler. Roast until the tops just begin to brown, do not over char, turn once and continue roasting until the second side begins to brown.
When the first veggies are roasted carefully remove them

While the second veggies are roasting cook the orzo according to the package instructions, usually 7-10 minutes (remember to skim the coriander, black pepper and lemon out of the water first if you did flavor the water).
After the orzo is al dente tender, drain and transfer to the large mixing bowl.
Toss the orzo with half of the dressing made earlier while the orzo is still steaming.
Add the roasted veggies to the mixture and lightly toss while adding the additional dressing.

You can either serve warm or chill to whatever temperature you prefer to serve. A bed of spinach under is a nice tough to make it feel more like a salad. We also served with both crumbled goat cheese and grated parmesano regiano along with extra fresh cracked black pepper

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About thedoormouse

I am I. That’s all that i am. my little mousehole in cyberspace of fiction, recipes, sacrasm, op-ed on music, sports, and other notations both grand and tiny: https://thedmouse.wordpress.com/about-thedmouse/
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