The other night the women's group at my church had a lovely little garden party which I signed up to bring a pasta salad to. I was so in the mood to try something a little different from my go-to pasta salads, something light and summery with some fresh ingredients that I have really had a hankering for!
I love the combination of the sweet tomatoes with the salty nubs of roasted asparagus. This salad is superb and perfect to enjoy as you try and soak up the last bit of the grilling season. Soak it up guys, because Fall is coming and I for one, can't wait!
Creamy Orzo Salad with Asparagus and TomatoesServes: 8 side servings
1 lb orzo pasta, cooked per package directions and chilled
1 shallot, diced very small
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
6 Tbsp olive oil
3 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lb asparagus
4 oz goat cheese
About an hour before you want to make the rest of the salad (around the time you are starting the pasta) combine the shallot, 3 Tbsp vinegar, 5 Tbsp olive oil 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat oven to 400. Remove the goat cheese from the refrigerator to soften. Wash the asparagus and trim 1-inch off the end. Spread on a cookie sheet and drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over the asparagus and sprinkle the salt and pepper on top. Toss until the asparagus is coated. Bake for about 7-8 minutes or until the asparagus can be pierced with a fork but is still crispy. Remove from oven and set aside until cool.
Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Remove the dressing from the refrigerator. Add in the pasta and mix until combined. Add the asparagus and tomatoes and toss. Slice the goat cheese into 1/4-inch slices and mix into the pasta, pressing the cheese on the side of the bowl using the spoon to help break it up.
Taste the pasta to see if it needs more flavor, you may want to add in more salt, pepper or vinegar. Chill until serving.