Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ringing in the New Year with a wonderful Italian-inspired dish!

Once I completed all of my organizational activities on Friday, I headed to the kitchen to see what I could make for Matt and I that would pair up nicely with a skirt steak he brought home. I spotted a box of orzo pasta in the pantry. There was also all that left over fresh mozzarella and basil from my birthday on the 26th, and a pint of organic cherry tomatoes from FarmFresh...wheels turning...

Our menu would consist of the following: orzo tossed with homemade pesto sauce, fresh mozzarella and halved cherry tomatoes, almost like a warm pasta salad.

I quickly pulled up a pesto recipe on and got the jist of the ingredients and quantities. I used a small Cuisinart chopper/grinder which I sometime use as a mini food processor and I dropped basil leaves (about a cup, though you can use more), walnuts (about 1/2 cup), 4 peeled garlic cloves, FRESHLY grated parmesan cheese (this makes all the difference), sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. It's okay to go a bit overboard with the salt, as this will be the primary flavoring for all of the dish and it will get diluted. I grinded the ingredients and then started adding the olive oil, little by little, alternating with grinding, until the mixture became pesto-like :) This was soooo easy!

Then, I mixed the pesto, halved tomatoes, and coarsely cubed mozzarella with the recently boiled and drained orzo while it was still hot (but with the burner off, back in pot). The tomatoes got soft and warm and the mozzarella just barely melted, still squeaking in between your teeth when you bite it. You can pair this with the protein of your choice, although I have to admit, a juicy lightly-salted grilled skirt steak is a nice buttery choice.

Once we sat to enjoy our last dinner of 2010, I couldn't help but to consider that this pesto orzo was easy and delicious enough to prepare for a large group. These are the kind of recipes that are a must for effortless and affordable entertaining!

Cheers to 2011!
May this year bring out the culinary goddess within...


  1. Sounds yummy! Wish we lived much closer so we could trade cooking for crafts :) I hope that the new year brings you and Matt an OVER abundance of blessings. Thanks for the lovely comment on the blog. A little bit scary to get this started, but I feel I'm being called to do this! Cheers to 2011!