A light Tomato Orzo Pasta with Zesty Basil Vinaigrette. Nutty orzo, juicy ripe tomatoes, all tossed in a flavorful basil dressing makes this the perfect side dish!
Here we are in the beginning of Fall and I am sharing one of my favorite summer dishes! To be fair, it has been over 100° here in sunny California and it has been feeling far more like the beginning of August than the beginning of October. But the heat hasn’t stopped the stores from stocking their shelves with Halloween decor and pumpkin treats. Besides, Pumpkin Spice Lattes have made their magical appearance back at Starbucks which can only mean one thing, Fall is finally here!
It really is my favorite time of year, if only for the hope that the summer’s sunny rays will retreat behind rain filled clouds to finally give us relief from this drought! They keep saying that this will be the year of the “El Nino”…whatever that means. I am not much of a weather buff but I’ve heard that it means lots of rain this Winter. Which gives me hope that there is the slightest chance that the city will stop sending me notices that water restrictions are now down to a mere drop in a bucket. Kidding but they are pretty serious about the water conservation these days. If you have a green lawn you can bet the neighbors will talk. 😉
Lucky for me, I bring my neighbors lots of food so they keep it all hush hush. Bribery you say? NEVER! Ha! Unfortunately for them, I never sent any of this orzo pasta their way because it never lasts at our house! We absolutely love it. My favorite part is the Zesty Basil Vinaigrette. It is SO good. Because it has been so hot, my basil plant has forgotten all about Fall and keeps right on growing in all its summer bliss. So I have loads and loads of it. I usually double the recipe and save the extra dressing to put on salads or to pour over veggies as a snack. Of course there is the rare occasion that I eat it right off the spoon but we can keep that our little secret!
I hope you enjoy this simple little Tomato Orzo Pasta as much as we do!
- Tomato Orzo Pasta:
- 6 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 lb Orzo Pasta
- 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
- ½ Cup Spinach Leaves, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Basil, chopped
- ½ Cup Green Onions, chopped (I used white and green parts)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ Cup Feta Cheese, cubed (Optional)
- Zesty Basil Vinaigrette
- ½ Cup Basil
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- ⅓ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- ¼ Cup Lemon Juice
- 1 Heaping Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- ½ Cup Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
- Tomato Orzo Pasta:
- In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add in the orzo. Cook according the the package instructions making sure not to overcook the pasta. You want the pasta to be al dente (slightly firm still). Drain the pasta and pour into a large serving bowl. Add in remaining ingredients. Stirring well. Toss with half of the basil vinaigrette reserving the other half for serving. This pasta can be served immediately but the flavors develop much more after refrigerating for 2-3 hours.
- Zesty Basil Vinaigrette:
- In a food processor combine all the ingredients except the olive oil, salt and pepper. Slowly add in the olive oil while the the food blender is processing.