Showing posts with label light summer pasta salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label light summer pasta salad. Show all posts

Friday, September 2, 2011

Orzo for a late summer weekend lunch

I am in love with orzo in all its forms. This little gem looks like rice and behaves like pasta, because it is. It’s small enough to let pasta sauce or cheese cling to every little morsel. And for the same reason, it makes a great pasta salad. What’s more, everyone in my family seems to love it no matter what I do to it.

As I am expecting weekend guests in mid-September, I thought I’d test something that would work in for a casual lunch in very hot or very cool weather. We may have both the same weekend! Orzo should do the trick whatever the weather.

One of the guests is a vegetarian who has a hankering for shrimp and one is a carnivore who also likes seafood. I am hoping for warm weather and I think this Orzo Salad will do for everyone. So far it passed the husband test with flying colors when I served it in the screen porch on a perfect August day. Whenever I make this, I will now recall that lovely afternoon. Food and memories, that's what it's all about.


½ lb orzo

¼ cup olive oil

1 pound cooked shrimp (with a good squeeze of lemon)

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

½ red pepper, finely chopped

½ yellow or orange pepper, finely chopped

2 green onions, finely sliced

½ parsley, finely chopped

¾ cup light mayonnaise or ½ cup mayo and ¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt

¼ cup chopped fresh dill (optional)

Salt & pepper

Lemon wedges for garnish


Cook orzo in boiling salted water for about 8 minutes. Drain well and drizzle with olive oil and pepper. Set aside.

Toss shrimp with 1 tbsp lemon juice. Set aside.

Make the dressing by combining garlic, mustard, 2 tbsp lemon juice, half the parsley, remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Whip until creamy.

Coat the shrimp in two tbsp of the dressing. You can also toss in scallops or other seafood. Toss orzo with peppers, green onions, remaining parsley and dressing. Fold in the shrimp and mayo (and sour cream or yogurt). Garnish with dill (optional) and lemon wedges.

Refrigerate for at least an hour for the best flavor. Like all my recipes you can add, subtract, switch it up and substitute. I will never admit that I forgot the parsley.

Serve it with a crisp green salad and vinaigrette. I'm finding wonderful lettuce at farmers' market now. Some of it is like a work of art. Not sure if we should frame it or eat it!

Late summer weekend afternoons are perfect for reading, especially the wonderful cozies that you'll find by our talented cooks here on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Make more time for cooking and reading by following some practical time management tips. You'll find one in every chapter of my latest book: The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder, the fifth Charlotte Adams mystery. Have fun. Read mysteries. Now that's managing time well. Drop in to for more on me and Charlotte Adams. Sign up for the mailing list and your name goes in the draw!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summery (and Too Easy!) Tuna Pasta Salad

We love hearing from readers when they've tried a recipe.  Lynn loved Peggy Ehrhart's Mango Tango Pie.  She said~ 'It looked good enough to eat immediately after being assembled and we could
Lynn's Pie!
hardly wait for it to chill in the fridge before slicing it after dinner the first night.

Man, was it good!  After scarfing up every last crumb on his plate, David said, and I quote " I think this is the best pie I've ever eaten in my life!"  High praise, indeed! (His mom was a terrific pie maker and great all-around country cook)'

Wow!  How's that for an endorsement?

And if you're looking for a tuna salad to eat before the Mango Tango Pie, I have a very easy one for you today.

One of the first ingredients, besides chocolate, that I remember playing with was tuna fish.  I have vivid memories of making tuna fish sandwiches with my brother and discovering the key to a spectacular tuna sandwich -- lemon juice.

This is a salad that I make a lot.  It's very versatile, so don't be afraid to add more of an ingredient or to omit one altogether.  In the interest of getting away from using so much mayonnaise (a must for a great tuna sandwich), I have used an olive oil and lemon mixture.  If you're one of those people who simply must have mayo, it works very well with that, too.

In a weird moment, I once added chunks of pineapple, and while that seems odd to me, I have to admit that if I have a pineapple on hand, I still cut a slice or two into bite-sized chunks and add it to the salad.  It's a nice sweet surprise.

Fun pasta shapes work best here.  I used fusilli, but I also like little shells that catch the other ingredients.

Tuna Pasta Salad

8 ounces dried pasta
1 can tuna (if you love tuna, use 2 cans)
1/2 onion
1 10-ounce bag frozen peas
1/2 cup red, yellow, and/or orange peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package.  Place in a large bowl, add the tuna with the liquid and break up.  Add the frozen peas. (You don't even have to cook them! The heat from the pasta will thaw them.) Chop the onion and the peppers and add.  Mix.

Use a fork or mini-whisk to blend the juice of 1/2 to 3/4 of the lemon with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour over the salad and toss.  Adjust salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed.