Side in a Snap

It was discussed, but we never quite committed to attend the after school BBQ at my daughter’s elementary school as we have two kids; one in middle and one in elementary.  Commitments can be challenging sometimes.  When my husband is around, we divide and conquer.  The day before, we learned we could attend, so I quickly RSVP’d and signed up for a side dish then completely tossed the food idea out of my mind.

The day of, we ran in circles taking care of last day of school business in addition to the craziness of let’s pack our gear and get out town for five days details.  Our lives were hectic, which frankly has become our norm.  Thirty minutes prior to the BBQ, the light bulb in my crazy head illuminated and I remembered I signed up for a side dish. Crap, seriously?!

Obligation, along with guilt, set in knowing that a food columnist cannot show up with a bag of pretzels in tow. Immediately, I ran around the house and threw this pasta together.  Simple, refreshing, clean and done.  I tossed it into an old round wooden bowl I picked up at a yard sale for 5 cents along with my favorite funky wooden spoon.  I covered the bowl with a red and white gingham towel over the top and headed to the BBQ.

Little did I know that my snappy side dish would be so popular.  I received so many comments that I need to share.  I was limited to what I could use for this recipe so feel free to add, subtract or alter as you desire.  Just know that simple is usually not only easier but better.  Enjoy!

1 lb Orzo pasta

Chicken broth

Olive oil

Fresh lemon juice

Coarse kosher salt / Fresh cracked black pepper

Fresh spinach, a generous amount, roughly chopped

Cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Ricotta salata or other favorite crumbly salty white cheese

Fresh basil, sliced

Cook orzo al dente in broth and drain.  Place chopped spinach in large serving bowl.  Add warm orzo to bowl.  Toss with generous amount of olive oil and juice of one lemon.  Add in sliced tomatoes, cheese and season with salt, pepper and basil.  Yum!


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