IF...we didn’t have a big wedding coming up in just a few days, I’d probably tell you that I would definitely be including this light and very seasonal grilled squash pasta salad at a casual bbq this weekend. It’s totally delicious and downright unique in the summer pasta salad department. But we do or rather they are saying “I do” and so I won’t... be making this pasta salad again anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t and hence this post (sorry, my mind is a bit full and tends to go off on strange tangents these days!!)
There’s a lot to love in this guys and it all starts with the grilled squash. Yum! I should really be tossing it on the grill more often cause it’s so easy to do and adds such a nice smoky flavor to everything.
Looks pretty too!
Though you could use almost any small pasta here, I love the way orzo works. Perfectly bite-sized!
And then there are toasted pine nuts. Need I say more? They add that wonderful crunch and nutty flavor to every bite. I love, love, love 'em!!
The whole thing is coated in a light, lemony vinaigrette that doesn’t overpower, but simply ties everything together in such a lovely way. If mayo-based pasta salads gross you out, you’ve got to give this one a try as there’s not a lick of the white spread anywhere! I promise, you and everyone you serve this to, is going to love it!
Now apropos of nothing, I can’t let this post go by without saying that our middle guy finally comes home tomorrow after his 5 month stint Down Under!! Can't wait! In light of that and the upcoming nuptials, I'm not sure how much blogging time I’ll have in the near future—I’ll do my best, but well, you understand....
Summer Pasta Salad with Grilled Squash and Pine Nuts
Makes 4-6 servings
Prep Time for squash: 10 minutes; Prep Time in total: About 30 minutes
- About 2 pounds yellow squash and zucchini, mixed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- Black Pepper
- 1/2 pound orzo pasta
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Trim the ends off the squash and cut them lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices--try not to make them too thin or they will wind up burning on the grill. Place slices in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Cook the squash for a few minutes on one side to get those nice char marks, then turn and cook on the other side until tender--the whole thing should take under 10 minutes. Remove from grill and let cool. Cut into largish pieces and place in a large bowl.
2. Add a pinch of salt to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
3. While the orzo is cooking, heat a frying pan over medium-low heat and add the pine nuts. Let cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring every now and then, so that they toast and get browned. Remove from the heat and let cool.
4. Add the orzo to the squash in the bowl along with the remaining tablespoon of oil, the pine nuts, lemon juice, vinegar and parsley. Toss well to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately or at room temperature. You can even make this a day ahead, keep it refrigerated and serve it cold.
Note: Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Salad of the Day by Georgeanne Brennan. I tinkered a lot--you can too.