Ina Garten’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes. It is loaded with vegetables and full of flavor. It makes a great side dish, pot luck dish, or even a meal on its own. It’s great cold or at room temperature, and holds up beautifully in the fridge. I modified the recipe slightly to reduce unnecessary oil. I have also simplified the directions. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use 3 tablespoons)
  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt (I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 pound feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled) (I use 1/2 pound)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use 2 tablespoons – there is plenty of oil already on the vegetables)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425-F.
  2. In a large bowl toss the bell peppers, onion, and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into long slices, approximately 1/2 inch thick). Lightly brush the slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once they are coated, cut the slices into cubes. Add the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables. (The reason I add oil to the eggplant separately from the other vegetables is because eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge and will prevent the other vegetables from getting coated).
  4. Pour the vegetables onto a sheet pan (two sheet pans may be necessary to prevent the vegetables from being over crowded). Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the package.
  6. For the dressing, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Drain and transfer the orzo to a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing.
  8. Add the roasted vegetables and toss. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil.