“Reprinted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada De Laurentiis. Copyright © 2012. Photos copyright © 2012 by Amy Neunsinger. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.”
I’ve been on a “smoky” kick lately, exploring ways to integrate this distinct flavor into new recipes, such as by using smoked paprika or by charring on the grill. In this case, I char the cherry tomatoes in a skillet and add some smoked salt, which you can find in a well-stocked grocery store, to make the smoky dressing for the orzo. Tart cider vinegar and naturally sweet honey temper the smokiness and help round out the sauce. I like this as is— as a terrific vegetarian main course—but Todd loves it when I add some ground beef to the mix.
1 pound (2 pints) cherry tomatoes
1 pound orzo pasta
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place the tomatoes in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes are tender and the skins are charred in spots, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Combine the tomatoes, basil, vinegar, olive oil, honey, 1 tablespoon smoked salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Pour the tomato vinaigrette over the pasta and toss until coated. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with smoked salt and pepper, and serve.
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