Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Food Craft: Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

Welcome to another yummy food craft everyone, and HAPPY FRIDAY! This week I decided to take a step away from desserts and give you this yummy roasted vegetable and Orzo salad. It's great for picnics, tastes great hot, warm or cold and you can change it up with whatever veggies happen to be in season. It can be served as a side, or even as a whole meal itself, I'm a big fan. For this version of my pasta salad I use zucchini, roma tomatoes and an orange bell pepper as my veggies. If you want to do this gluten free, feel free to substitute quinoa or rice for the pasta (I'd recommend the quinoa as I have used it in the past with great results).

To make some yummy roasted vegetable pasta salad for yourself you will need:

1 small zucchini (about 8" long and 1-2" across)
1 medium Orange Bell Pepper
4 Roma Tomatoes
1 pound (16 ounces) Orzo, or other pasta

2 ounces chevre
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

You will start by washing, slicing and roasting your veggies. In good weather you can certainly substitute grilling for oven roasting your veggies, but alas, I am without a grill here in my tiny apartment, so slow roasting in my oven is what I had to do. I cut my tomatoes about 1/4" thick, the zucchini about 1/2" thick, and just cut my pepper into about 4 pieces. A very light drizzle of olive oil may be used on top once you arrange your veggies on a sheet pan, as well as a tiny bit of salt and pepper, you don't want to over season at this stage.

TIP: I hate cleaning my pans when I roast things, so I cover them with a layer of foil and just throw all the grossness away off of my pans when I am done.

Heat your oven to 225 degrees and roast your veggies for about 2 hours. You may want to flip your zucchini as it can get pretty dried out if you aren't watching. I always give the zucchini an extra little brush of oil to keep it from drying out.

Once your veggies are done, let them cool for about 20 minutes. You want to be able to get the skin off of your peppers and tomatoes without burning yourself (which will be very easy after slow roasting them by the way, fear not). Remove any skin (it will be shriveled on the outside of your veggies and look rather unappealing anyway) and then dice into your desired size. I generally don't dice up the tomatoes much as they fall apart on their own when stirring everything together at the end.

Prepare your orzo or quinoa according to your package and drain thoroughly. In a separate small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar to form an emulsion. Place your veggies, pasta and dressing together in a serving bowl and toss together. Add salt and pepper to taste, then a sprinkling of chevre. Enjoy!

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