The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Orzo Salad with Broccoli Pesto

 

FINALLY!!! A recipe the kids like. M even professes to liking avocados again after this one.

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 c orzo (whole wheat if you can find it)
5 c raw broccoli cut intros small florets & stems
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 c pine nuts, toasted
1/3 c parmesan cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c creme fraiche
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted & sliced (do this at the last minute!)

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the orzo. Salt generously, add the orzo, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well again.

2. Cook the broccoli. While we’re on the subject – you can use the flowers and the stems in this recipe. Just be sure to peel the skin off the thick stems and then you can slice small coin shaped pieces. They are really tasty and that way as little as possible goes to waste.

Bring 3/4 c water to a boil in a large pot. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for about 1 minute. Quickly drain in a strainer and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain & set aside.

3. Make the pesto. (Yum!) Combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, most of the pine nuts, the Parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, and 2 TBSP lemon juice in a food processor. (I used my blender.) Drizzle in olive oil and creme fraiche and pulse until smooth. (I added those before I tried blending anything since I knew it wouldn’t work without some liquid.)

4. Just before serving, toss the orzo and remaining cooked broccoli with about 2/3rds of the broccoli pesto and the lemon zest. (I totally forgot the zest but will do it next time!) Thin with a little warm water of you like, then taste and adjust the salt, lemon juice and/or pesto. Mine needed more pesto.

Two ways to serve:
For a group – fold in avocados, turn out in a bowl or platter and top with remaining pine nuts & lemon slices for drizzling.

For individual servings – serve in single serving bowls with sliced avocado & pine nuts on top as well as a small sprinkle of parmesan & a lemon slice.

Ooooooooooooooo

Ahhhhhhhhhh….avocado porn!

This is a delicious & pretty comfort food. Both my kids loved it which makes it a big hit and a small miracle.

NOTES: You can make the separate parts ahead of time and refrigerate. I made them the afternoon before as I had a couple of friends coming by the next day. I ran hot water over the orzo & broccoli to take the fridge chill out and then tossed with the pesto.

Orzo Salad with Broccoli Pesto
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

This is called a “salad” but I like to think of it as a yuppie’s macaroni & cheese. A tasty, healthy kid-friendly meal. In other words: a small miracle!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 c orzo (or any other small pasta)
  • 5 c raw broccoli cut into small florets & stems
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ⅔ c pine nuts, toasted (see NOTE for how to toast)
  • ⅓ c parmesan cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • ¼ c creme fraiche
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted & sliced (do this just before serving!)

Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the orzo. Salt generously, add the orzo, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well again.
  2. Cook the broccoli. Bring ¾ c water to a boil in a large pot. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for about 1 minute. Quickly drain in a strainer and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain & set aside.
  3. Make the pesto. Combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, most of the pine nuts, the Parmesan, ¼ tsp salt, and 2 TBSP lemon juice in a food processor. (I used my blender.) Drizzle in olive oil and creme fraiche and pulse until smooth. (I added those before I tried blending anything since I knew it wouldn’t work without some liquid.)
  4. Just before serving, toss the orzo and remaining cooked broccoli with about ⅔rds of the broccoli pesto and the lemon zest. Thin with a little warm water of you like, then taste and adjust by adding salt, lemon juice and/or pesto.

Notes
TOASTING PINE NUTS: Heat oven to 400. Spread pine nuts evenly on a cookie sheet. Toast a few minutes until golden brown. Do NOT walk away & forget the pine nuts! Two ways to serve: 1. For a group – fold in avocado slices, turn out in a bowl or platter and top with remaining pine nuts & lemon slices for drizzling. 2. For individual servings (and if you plan to have leftovers) – serve in single serving bowls with sliced avocado & pine nuts on top as well as a small sprinkle of parmesan & a lemon slice. (This way your whole salad will not turn brown overnight!)

Slightly adapted from Super Natural Every Day.

 



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3 comments on Orzo Salad with Broccoli Pesto

  1. Katarina
    March 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm (2083 days ago)

    This was soo yummy! Thanks for making me one of your test subjects. I’ll definitely make this tasty dish at home!

  2. Drew
    March 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm (2083 days ago)

    Hah. We had orzo tonight too. Our meal was much less homemade though. This looks excellent! — Amy

    p.s. don’t tell Drew but we’re making one of your desserts for his birthday. Jake is sworn to secrecy.

  3. Christina
    March 8, 2012 at 9:23 am (2083 days ago)

    Katarina: you’re so welcome! I hope I can continue using you as a guinea pig for more recipes…

    Amy: let me know how that dessert turns out!

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