Thursday, 28 July 2011

Orzo pasta salad with peas, round courgettes and a few herbs

Orzo pasta salad with peas, courgettes and a few herbs

When I think of summer eating I have a strong image in my head and I’d like to share it with you if you don’t mind. Summer eating for me is light, fresh flavours, simple dishes and perfect produce. I dream of flat white peaches, dark blood coloured cherries, iridescent sardines, sweet crab and tender runner beans… I think of being in a lush, full country garden, bees and butterflies. It’s almost like a potager. I imagine a languid lunch eaten on white plates on an old wooden table, aged from years under the elements. There is flagstone paving that leads up a few steps into the garden beyond. Whatever food is eaten it is always enjoyed with something chilled and white, the glass is dewy on the outside where the cool wine has hit the warmed atmosphere of a late July afternoon. This image I have in my head is probably the result of indulging in few too many Rick Stein re runs recently. The reality of summer eating for me is sadly less romantic. I ate this salad for lunch 3 days on the trot in that darn windowless staffroom in Fife. A girl can daydream.

Orzo pasta
This is my take on a summery pasta salad. There are no rules, it is more of a framework than a recipe and works with whatever seasonal veggies you have in your fridge or whatever you like best. Think of this as a bit of inspiration.

Orzo pasta salad with peas, courgettes and a few herbs
Orzo pasta salad with peas, round courgettes and a few herbs.
Serves 4

300g of pasta, I used the pretty orzo
1 roasted chicken breast, shredded
fresh peas, shelled to give a handful or two
1 round courgette or 2 small standard courgettes, finely sliced
small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
couple of tablespoons of more flavourful herbs – I used mint and greek basil
few shavings of a hard aged cheese, I used pecorino
zest of 1 lemon
juice of at least one lemon
good glug of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, orzo takes about 7-8 minutes.
Drain the pasta and run it under cold water for a couple of minutes until cool.
Add all the ingredients to the pasta, taste and adjust proportions as required.
Season to taste.



  1. This salad looks delicious! I'm wondering why I have never bought orzo pasta before... I think I was always wondering what to do with it. Thank you for the lovely idea.

  2. That sounds deliciously fresh and light and tasty...and so nice for summer.

  3. What a gorgeous summer salad - I imagine the orzo makes it extremely light while providing nice texture. Delicious.