My family LOVED it, and I’ve been making a variation of her recipe ever since, using dried cranberries and toasted almonds. I thought Truly Good Foods' Blackened Pumpkin Seeds would be great in another variation of this orzo pasta. So, I got out my trusty recipe workbook and started throwing ideas for flavors around. This orzo pasta recipe offers sweet tomato flavor with salty feta, crunchy fresh grilled zucchini, and a little heat from the blackened pumpkin seeds. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Truly Good Orzo Pasta with Truly Good Foods Blackened Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for Tri-Colore Orzo
1 pound orzo pasta
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium-sized zucchini (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 lemon, juiced (about 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice)
3 scallions, sliced thinly on the bias (about 1/3 cup)
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, stems removed, lightly chopped (about 20 stems)
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Truly Good Foods Blackened Pumpkin Seeds
Cook the orzo pasta according to the package directions (usually about 6 to 7 minutes in salted boiling water). I like to slightly under cook my pasta because it keeps cooking a bit while it’s cooling. Drain and spread out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over the pasta and toss to coat. Spread out once again and allow to cool for 20 minutes, stirring half way through to help it cool faster.
Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch planks. You’ll get three to four planks out of each zucchini. Coat both sides of the zucchini planks with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper. Grill on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes (turning over half way through cooking). You just want to get some grill marks on them. They need to be firm so they can be cut into cubes later. When cooled, dice the zucchini into 1/2-inch cubes.
In a large bowl, gently mix the cooled orzo pasta, diced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, sliced scallions, and chopped thyme. If it looks dry, add one more Tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. If you are serving immediately, add the feta cheese and the Truly Good Foods Blackened Pumpkin Seeds (add more if you really like it crunchy). Serve at room temperature. If you are serving this dish later, wait to add the cheese and seeds. Chill the pasta and add the cheese and pumpkin seeds right before you serve.
This makes 10 to 11 cups of pasta salad.