Monday, June 18, 2012

Giada's Citrus Pasta Salad

The Spatularettes love everything about summer: the long days, the warm weather, the endless number of outdoor activities, the fresh ingredients, and trips to the shore!  Tall One just got back to town from her annual girls weekend in Sea Isle City and Small One is currently enjoying a lovely week in the Outer Banks.  We think the only thing that says summer more than a week of lounging in the sand, is this Citrus Pasta Salad.  

Tall One brought a batch down the shore to share with her friends and decided it was worth posting when everyone asked for the recipe!  Normally we don't like to re-post recipes that we haven't created on our own, or at least tweaked a bit, but this one is already perfect.  It comes from Giada De Laurentiis' cookbook "Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites" and we literally cannot think of a single thing to change.  It is packed with fresh ingredients and tastes like summer.  Bring this to your next picnic and we promise that everyone will be begging for the recipe!

Tall One and her girlfriends enjoying the summer sun in Sea Isle :)

-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 orange
-1 grapefruit
-8 cups of chicken or veggie stock
-1 pound orzo
-1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
-1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
-1/2 Tbs fennel seeds, lightly toasted
-1 tsp coarse salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper

Boil the 8 cups of broth and cook the orzo according to package instructions.  When done, drain the pasta and the spread it out in an even layer on a large pan to cool.

While the pasta is cooling, pour the 1/2 cup of olive oil into a small bowl.  Zest in one orange and then set the orange aside.  Whisk together the oil and zest and also set aside.

Over a large bowl, section the orange and the grapefruit.  Be careful to discard all of the peel and the pith (the white part) and as much of the membrane (the thin clear part) as you can.  Squeeze the remainder of the fruit juice into the bowl with the citrus sections.  To the bowl add the sliced onion, the chopped mint and basil, and the toasted fennel seeds.  To toast the seeds simply toss them in a small nonstick pan over medium heat for about five minutes, giving the pan a shake every minute.  You'll know they are done when they start to become very fragrant.

Once the pasta has cooled most of the way, add it to the bowl with the fruit and herbs.  Mix gently until evenly distributed.  Finally add the salt, pepper, and reserved orange oil to the salad and toss together before serving.

This is the perfect summer salad in absolutely every way!

Talll and Small

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