Hello Friday! It’s good to see you!
Is it me or did this week fly right on by? I busted tail on Monday, cooking and cleaning so that Tuesday we could take advantage of the beautiful day and go out on the boat and swim in the lake. I made us Italian subs, we listened to music, laid out and got sun-kissed and took a dip in the warm yet refreshing water when the sun became too much. It really was a perfect day.
If you follow me on snapchat (laurie.mcnamara) then you know the absolute highlight of my week was taking my two daughters to their first concert. It was Malloree’s Christmas gift this past year because it is her most favorite band EVER- 5 Seconds of Summer. The concert was a lot of fun, even if I only knew a few songs, it didn’t matter because seeing the look on her face when they took the stage was priceless. One I will never forget.
Then before I knew it, it was Thursday and I was shoved back into reality with the girls having orthodontist and dentist appointments. Bleh.
Today, however, I’m SO excited to share this Pasta Salad recipe with you!!! Early this month we were at a cookout with good friends and had one of the best meals we’ve ate in a long time. It’s true. There’s something about when other people cook for you amiright?! There were chicken and steak kebabs, sweet and spicy baked beans (which I’m still working on obtaining the recipe for!) and this amazing orzo pasta salad.
I was standing in the kitchen and watched my friend Melissa (Hi Melissa and Josh!) throw together this simple pasta salad. Her version, which obviously inspired this version (and really isn’t much different) had cherry tomatoes, asparagus, crumbled feta cheese and she drizzled the whole thing with a balsamic vinaigrette. It was so simple and so delicious. Together Pat and I put a major dent in her salad and equally loved it the same.
So when Pat got home from work on Monday and he took one look at the salad and asked if it was “The Salad”… he promptly mounded a third of the pasta bowl onto his plate. I may or may not have done the same. I will never tell.
In Melissa’s salad there wasn’t any corn, but me being me and how I harbor the need to represent every color in the rainbow, I decided to grill up a couple of ears while the pasta cooked.
Also, I’m really not sure if she blanched her asparagus first. I did not, because raw asparagus is totally okay to eat (and less work and dirty dishes too!) but you can always throw it in a pot of salted boiling water for 4-ish minutes if you wish to. If you are going the raw route then just pick thin spears and you’re good to go.
This colorful pasta salad is as easy as cooking up a pound of orzo, rinsing it in cold water (drain well) and then add it into a large mixing bowl with tomato halves, grilled corn, asparagus pieces and crumbled Greek feta…
I also tossed in a tablespoon or so of thinly sliced basil leaves. I have two basil plants growing in my herb garden, one green and one purple, so I used both. Because…color.
I had made another batch of my house balsamic dressing and poured a good amount over top. I didn’t measure it out (bad blogger!) but just pour, toss and go by looks… nothing to overly saturated but everything is coated nicely.
We ate this along with this grilled chicken and slices of bread that I drizzled with olive oil and quickly grilled. It was the perfect summer meal. This summer salad stole the show, fresh vegetables, creamy, salty feta and balsamic dressing is a match made in pasta salad heaven.
My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!
Asparagus, Tomato & Grilled Corn Orzo Pasta Salad
This summer salad will steal the show. Fresh vegetables, feta and balsamic dressing is a match made in pasta salad heaven.
Yield: about 8+
Prep Time: about 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: about 30 minutes
16 ounces dried orzo pasta
1 tablespoon of fine sea salt
2 large ears sweet corn
1 pint mixed tomatoes, halved
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
sliced fresh basil (purple and green for extra color)
house balsamic dressing
freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in the sea salt to the water along with the pasta. Stir and cook, following the instructions on your package. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
In the meantime, grill corn for 8-10 minutes until cooked and with good grill marks. Allow the corn to cool before cutting the kernels off of the cob.
To a large mixing bowl add the orzo, corn, tomatoes, asparagus pieces and feta cheese. Add in the basil and toss a few times. Pour in a little of the dressing, season with salt and pepper to taste and then toss to combine.
Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.
If making this in advance, I would add the ingredients to a bowl and then pour in the dressing right before serving.