Baked Orzo With Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers and Zucchini

Adapted from: Martha Rose Shullman, NY Times Cooking

Notes: If you don’t eat cheese, just omit, substitute a dairy-free cheese or nutritional yeast and/or add in some beans. And if you’re a fan of roasted peppers, add more!

And the original recipe notes that you can prepare this recipe several hours, or even a day before baking. It also tastes great cold or at room temperature.

ingredients

1/2 pound orzo (about 1-1/8 cups)

Salt to taste

1 large red pepper, roasted and diced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium zucchini, sliced about 1/4 inch thick, or all the zucchini in your box.

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced; or one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 or 2 plump garlic cloves (to taste), minced

2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan or 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese (1/2 cup, tightly packed) 

Basil 

instructions

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil, and add the orzo. Cook eight minutes, or until it is cooked through but still firm to the bite. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the diced roasted pepper and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 375º. Oil a 2-quart baking dish. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, wide skillet. Add the zucchini and cook — stirring and turning over the slices, or tossing them in the pan — until just cooked through and lightly colored, about five minutes. Scrape into the bowl with the orzo.

Return the pan to the heat, add the final tablespoon of oil and the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds, and add the tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and smell fragrant. Add a few thinly sliced basil leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning. Scrape into the bowl with the orzo, add the Parmesan or goat cheese, and mix everything together. Add freshly ground pepper to taste, and adjust salt. Transfer to the baking dish.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is just beginning to color. Serve hot or warm, topped with chopped basil.

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