I was looking for a light (but filling) Spring side dish and stumbled upon this recipe for a Zucchini and Orzo Salad with Feta - perfect! It was so delicious and refreshing that I ended up eating it by itself for lunch instead of pairing it with salmon like I had intended.
But I did still need a side for the salmon, and I had extra orzo and some Mascarpone that I needed to use up. So I made this Creamy Mascarpone Pasta with Peas and Chives - yum!
Orzo Salad with Zucchini and Feta
adapted from Real Simple
Serves 8 (side dish) or 4 (main)
8 oz orzo (1⁄2 box, it looks like a tiny amount but it triples in size)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/4 lbs small zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
8 oz Feta, crumbled (2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl - combine the oil, vinegar, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add the zucchini and let marinate, tossing occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Add the orzo, Feta, and basil to the zucchini mixture and toss to combine. Store chilled.
Orzo in Mascarpone Sauce with Peas and Chives
adapted from Cooking Tip of the Day
8 oz orzo (1/2 box)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp butter
4 oz mascarpone, room temperature
Splash of heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Reserved water from the pasta pot
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve at least 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.
In the same pot, over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the garlic to the melted butter and cook about a minute until soft but not brown.
Add the mascarpone and the cream, stirring until smooth. Add the pasta water a little at a time until you have the desired thickness of the sauce. Add the Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add the peas and let warm through. Add the pasta and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the chives, serve immediately.