Orzo salad with basil-sherry vinaigrette
Makes 4 servings
Do as the Italians do and include this dish among an assortment of antipasti. Or you can serve it as a light lunch or as an out-of-the-ordinary accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken.
1 ear sweet corn or 1 cup frozen corn
¾ cup orzo, riso, or rosamarina pasta
2 plum tomatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup Basil-Sherry Vinaigrette
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 4 leaves butter lettuce or other soft-leafed lettuce Small sprigs of fresh basil for garnish
Place the ear of corn on a microwaveable dish covered loosely with waxed paper. Microwave on high until hot, about 2 minutes. (If using frozen corn, cook according to package instructions. Drain well.) Set aside to cool.
Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Rinse with cool water; drain again.
When the corn has cooled, cut the kernels off the cob. (It's best to cut or break the ear in half. On a cutting board, hold the cob upright. Using a sharp knife, slide the blade downwards, letting the kernels fall on the board, rotating the cob a quarter turn at a time until all the kernels are removed.)
In a medium bowl, toss together the pasta, corn, and tomatoes. Add ¼ cup of the vinaigrette and toss again.
Refrigerate the salad and the remaining vinaigrette in separate covered containers for at least 2 hours or for up to 2 days. Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature.
Toss the remaining vinaigrette just before serving. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
Spoon the salad onto lettuce-lined salad plates and garnish with basil sprigs.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.