One of my favorite parts about summertime is getting together with family and friends for cook outs. We are fortunate to gather together often, sometimes for no reason other than to just get together. There’s nothing that I like more than delicious food on the grill and all of the even yummier sides that come along with summertime grilling.
I’ve said to a few of my friends that for our first gathering of the season, we need to have everyone bring a dish to pass so that we can have a full buffet of tasty salads and other goodies to try; you know, since it’s been so long since we’ve all had some of our favorites!
I found a new salad recipe that is so tasty and unique that it’s sure to please a crowd – Orzo Pasta Salad with Bacon & Parmesan Vinaigrette. I mean c’mon, everything is just better with bacon!
Orzo Pasta Salad with Bacon & Parmesan Vinaigrette
16 ounces Orzo pasta
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup shredded carrots, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Cook the Orzo pasta according to the directions, drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.
In a large bowl, add the pasta, all of the vegetables and bacon. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients except the Parmesan cheese.
When the dressing is smooth and creamy, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Don’t add salt yet, because the Parmesan is salty.
Add the Parmesan to the dressing and whisk again until completely blended.
Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and mix well.
Taste and adjust the seasonings again.
This is delicious served at room temperature or cold.
Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
As with any pasta salad, this soaks up the dressing, so the next day I drizzled in some more balsamic to moisten it up.
Some variations to the dressing would be lemon, regular balsamic, red wine vinegar, olives, crushed red pepper…and the list goes on.