All but the Kitchen Sink Pasta
For years I have enjoyed my sister in law’s famous Baton Rouge orzo pasta. It boasts a colorful pastiche of asparagus spears, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, purple onion, red peppers, and olives. This Summer I decided to freestyle the recipe with what I could find fresh at the Jackson Hole Farmer’s Market. My “kitchen sink” pasta is best served at room temperature or cold and it only gets better with age. Recently, I made a batch for a good friend in the throws of cancer treatment. She said it was a “happy” pasta and she loved the crunch! This would be a great addition to your Labor Day Feast!
2-3 cups of orzo pasta
1 cup diced melange of green and black olives
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cups diced cherry tomatoes (Farmers Market’s currently have a colorful red, orange, and yellow medley)
1 cup diced yellow peppers
1 1/2 cups of blanched French green beans (the goal is they maintain their crunch!)
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped Marcona almonds
1 1/2 cups of crumbled Feta cheese
1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup of drained capers (optional)
Homemade French dressing: Olive oil, Dijon mustard, (Lemon or balsamic vinegar)
Salt & Pepper
Prepare a pot of salted boiling water. Cook orzo for 15 minutes, or al dente! Set aside with a pat or two of Irish butter to cool. Dice black and green olives (Even though it’s more tedious, I prefer to buy the un-pitted olives for the flavor). Boil water for French beans (I love the skinny French beans from Trader Joe’s). Immediately remove after a few minutes and place in an ice bath. Chop yellow peppers, basil, Marcona almonds, Italian parsley, and mint. In a Mason jar, prepare dressing of olive oil, Dijon mustard, and either lemon or vinegar. I tend to lean toward the vinegar because it pairs beautifully with the Feta cheese. Add salt and pepper and maybe a pinch of Herbes de Provence and shake. The dressing saves well in the refrigerator for future salads. Chop green beans into fours. Combine all ingredients and then fold in the dressing. The recipe is stock full of fresh and flavorful ingredients, be careful not to drown it in dressing. You can always add more. Leave in the refrigerator until ready to serve. I end up enjoying it for lunch for days!
This Labor Day, I’m dreaming of a menu of Baby back ribs or lolly-pop lamb chops, boiled and buttered sweet corn, my “Kitchen sink” pasta, sliced watermelon, crusty olive bread dripping in olive oil, and a final Summer cobbler for dessert!
Bon Appetit and Happy Labor Day!