Orzo and Vegetable Salad

(From Portable Food by Lee Bailey [Clarkson Potter, New York, 1996])

 

1 pound orzo pasta

2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large red bell pepper, julienned

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 large red onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 pound asparagus

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

˝ cup chopped scallions

 

 

Cook the orzo according to package directions.  Drain, then run under cold water and drain again thoroughly.  Place in a large bowl.

 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the bell pepper and sauté until just tender, 3 or 4 minutes.  Add to the orzo.

 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same pan and add the onion.  Sauté until translucent,

4 or 5 minutes.  Add to the orzo.

 

Break off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus.  Blanch the asparagus in boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes.  Drain, and put in bowl of ice water to cool down.  Drain again, and dry on paper towels, then cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.  Add them, along with the scallions, to the orzo and vegetables.

 

Make a vinaigrette by whisking the remaining 1/3 cup oil with the vinegar, salt, pepper, and shallots.  Pour over the salad and toss.  Add the Parmesan cheese and toss again.  Serves 6