Sunday, March 08, 2009

Orzo, Green Bean and Fennel Salad with Basil Pesto

Today is daylight savings. The days are finally feeling longer and spring is so close I can taste it. It feels good, right? So in the spirit of the day, I made a light lunch of pasta salad. Inspired by Bon Appetit's orzo, green bean and fennel salad with dill pesto, I substituted basil in place of the dill. I really like orzo pasta and always have it on hand. And because of its small shape, it's great to use for a lighter pasta dish.

Orzo, Green Bean and Fennel Salad with Basil Pesto (Serves 4)

1 cup green beans, trimmed
1 cup orzo
1 1/4 cup cucumber, cubed
1 cup fresh fennel, diced
3 tbsp basil pesto to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the green beans into a colander. Add orzo to the same boiling water and cook for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut beans crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add orzo, cubed cucumber, diced fennel. Mix in pesto, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

For this recipe, I used pesto I already had on hand. If you don't have any already made, then here's a recipe:

Basil Pesto

1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
dash of salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil

Add all the ingredients, except the olive oil into a food processor. Using the pulse function, pulse until well chopped. Continue pulsing and slowly pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, stopping when you've gotten a good pesto consistency.

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