My contribution was the above pictured orzo salad, which I thought of on the fly, using some of the ingredients I already had on hand - my favorite way to cook. I made the pesto from scratch, boiled the orzo and added some of the other fresh ingredients.
Overall, it was well received and went nicely with the bbq'd foods such as burgers, sausages, hot dogs and chicken wings. I think I'll add a touch more salt next time, but for the most part, it was a light, refreshing and somewhat healthy alternative.
Summer Pesto Orzo Salad
Ingredients (serves 6-8)1 package of Orzo pasta
3/4 cup of homemade pesto
2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup of chickpeas
1/2 cup of smoked gouda cheese, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to directions on the box, but cook to al dente, taking it out a few minutes before fully cooked. The pasta will continue cooking after you strain it.
Place pasta into a large, deep bowl and add the homemade pesto 1/4 cup of pasta water and mix well to incorporate all the pesto with the orzo. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and cheese and mix well. The cheese will melt into the orzo. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
Serve at room temperature or chilled - whatever you prefer.