Lynda Balslev: Add a little spring to your dinner plate
Spring is right around the corner, and while the weather might not look like it’s received the memo in some areas, this recipe is a bit of spring inspiration that will surely lighten up your dinner plate no matter where you sit. It’s a fresh and lovely pasta dish, bright with citrus and brimming with sweet and snappy peas, fresh herbs and baby arugula.
The pasta in this recipe is orzo, which resembles rice, but is in fact made from semolina flour. It’s toothsome and satisfying to eat, and the little morsels bind together this garden-fresh pasta salad. In this recipe the orzo is cooked and drained, and while still warm, tossed with the peas and aromatics to release their flavor. Fresh herbs and arugula are then added to lightly wilt and release their aroma. This is a delicious side dish or a light main course. Either way, it’s guaranteed to bring a breath of fresh air to your kitchen table.
Pea and Orzo Salad
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 3 to 4
12 ounces orzo pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup defrosted frozen peas
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 handful baby arugula, about 1 cup packed
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Grated Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, following package instructions. Drain the orzo and transfer to a large bowl.
Stir in the oil and lemon juice and then add the peas, garlic, lemon zest, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Stir to combine and gently warm the peas. Add the arugula, mint, dill and chives and stir to gently wilt the arugula. If the pasta is too dry, add 1 more tablespoon oil and taste for seasoning. Serve garnished with the grated Parmesan or feta and freshly ground black pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Union readers will know that Gray Pine was just named Best Winery in the paper’s recent Best Of Awards. As part of my ongoing series Hiding In Plain Sight featuring local wineries, I met with…