Whenever it rains I get to thinking about summer and how much I miss it. Right now it is raining so hard I can’t hear my music over the din on the tin roof. My music is blaring from the laptop on my lap, a few inches from my ears. So I am thinking about barbecues and salads and swimming and sunburns.
This isn’t necessarily a summer salad. Hell, it’s not necessarily a salad. You could easily serve it warm as a main course in the winter. But for me, the best way to eat it is on a paper plate, next to something grilled. And since it’s an Ina Garten recipe it should be accompanied by a pitcher of cocktails with a one to one, booze to mix, ratio. Summer really isn’t summer unless you’re blasted. Especially in the Hamptons.
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
- 1 small eggplant, peeled cut into medium dice
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into medium dice
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into medium dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 225 grams (1/2 pound) orzo or rice-shaped pasta
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 350 grams (3/4 pound) feta, cut in small dice (not crumbled)
- Fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
- Heat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
- Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking tray. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once.
- While the vegetables are roasting, cook the orzo in boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and put in a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
- For the dressing, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Season to taste, and serve at room temperature.