Asparagus & Mushroom Orzo Salad

Tonight cooking was a cooperative effort.  I was in charge of the side and D took care of the protein.  Thankfully I remembered to take out some chicken before Ella and I left the house this morning.  So while Derek worked his magic on the chicken with the grill, I made some orzo salad.  I was raised in an Italian kitchen, so find me some pasta and I’m good to go.  Here’s what I created tonight.

Ingredients:

  • orzo (I used about half the box)
  • 1 clove garlic–chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups crimini mushrooms–sliced
  • small bunch of asparagus–stalks cut into quarters
  • 1/2 c black olives–sliced
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (you could use fresh ones too)
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • crushed red pepper; salt/pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • olive oil

1. Bring water to boil and salt the water (an old Italian adage says that pasta water should taste like the ocean).  Cook the pasta according to package directions.

**Behind the scenes, D’s chicken marinated and was turning into something wonderful:

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in saute pan and then add asparagus.  Cook until softened just a bit–about 5 minutes.  Then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook down a little longer.  At this point, I added a pinch of salt and lots of crushed red pepper.

3. While everything is cooking, rinse and drain the canned tomatoes.  You could not drain the liquid, but it kind of muddles the dish and makes it too thick.

4. Once the mushrooms have softened, add the tomatoes and black olives.  Add more salt and pepper to taste and a splash of balsamic vinegar and cook until nice and warm.

5.  Strain the pasta and combine it with the mushroom/asparagus mixture. If you like, you could add a tiny bit of butter to make it more savory.  Then top with parmesan. So easy a caveman could do it!

The chicken looks burned, but it’s not–I promise.  It’s perfectly crisp on the outside and nice and moist inside.  Derek is the true grill master!

And while I was slaving away, here’s what our little one was up to:

Phew, I am pooped.  These cooking posts are time consuming.  It has been a fun first week of blogging!  I have all sorts of good stuff in the works.. my finished scarf and a new knitting project, a bit about books, and jewelry how-to’s.

I’m excited for things to come!

xoxoo ~Marisa

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