Orzo and Vegetable Pasta Bowl with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Onions

This time of year, there’s an amazing abundance of fresh vegetables, and it’s a great opportunity to get your children to try some new produce. Think about hitting a farmers market this weekend, and let your kids pick out something new to try. When you get home, make this recipe. With it’s grown-up and child-friendly versions, everyone in your house is guaranteed to eat dinner. The adults get to enjoy a delicious dijon vinaigrette while the kids sample the new vegetables with the buttery pasta they always enjoy.

The slow-roasted tomatoes and onions are delicious, but this dish will be tasty even without them. Although they do take a while in the oven, it’s hands-off cooking time, and the tomatoes and onions can be made up to a day in advance. I specify orzo, my personal short pasta favorite, but you can use any short pasta that’s popular with your family.


Orzo and Vegetable Pasta Bowl with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Onions
Author: 
Serves: 8
 
This meal makes a lot, so you have delicious leftovers for a second dinner or to pack for lunch. Happy cooking!
Ingredients
  • Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Onions:
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 Campari tomatoes or 1 - 1½ lbs Cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Orzo:
  • 2 cups (1 lb box) Orzo, regular or whole wheat, divided
  • Dijon Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • ¼ cup Red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • Other Ingredients:
  • 4-6 tbsp Butter, unsalted, softened
  • 1 (5 oz bag) Arugula or Baby Spinach, stems removed, divided (optional ½ bag for kids)
  • 4 cups Vegetables, cooked or raw - seasonal, divided
  • ½ cup Cheese of your choice - grated Parmesan, blue cheese, goat cheese, etc, divided (optional ½ cup for kids)
  • 4 tbsp Fresh herbs, optional (oregano, dill, thyme or basil would all work with this recipe), divided (optional 2 tbsp for kids)
Instructions
  1. Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Onions:
  2. Set oven to 250 degrees and cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil. On the sheet pan, drizzle the onion and tomatoes with olive oil and Kosher salt, stir to combine. Slowly cook the tomatoes and onions until somewhat shriveled, 1¾ - 2 hours.
  3. Save the juice from the tray to mix with the pasta salad. Tomatoes and onions can be made up to a day ahead.
  4. Cook the Orzo:
  5. Make a double batch, following package instructions - 1 cup each, so you can tailor one half for grownup flavors and the the other half for a more kid-friendly meal. Whole wheat orzo will take longer. Once drained in a colander, separate the orzo into two large bowls.
  6. Dijon Vinaigrette:
  7. In a Mason jar combine Dijon mustard, Kosher salt, honey, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Shake vigorously until the dressing is emulsified.
  8. Pasta Bowls:
  9. Pour cooked orzo into 2 large bowls. While the pasta is hot - in one bowl toss the vinaigrette and slow-roasted tomatoes (if using) and in the second bowl toss the butter with the pasta. It will seem like there is too much vinaigrette, but it will all be absorbed by the hot pasta.
  10. In the bowl with vinaigrette, add arugula (or spinach), vegetables, cheese and fresh herbs if using and toss until combined.
  11. In the bowl with the butter, add vegetables, and if using arugula (or baby spinach), cheese and fresh herbs and toss until combined.
  12. Add additional salt or pepper to taste.
  13. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 4 hours, let come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.

 

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