Thursday, June 30, 2011

Orzo w/Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts and Blue Cheese (with Orange Thyme Dressing)

Getting Over the Blues

I don't know if it was a psychological block to a "moldy cheese," or the much-too pungent taste of the varieties I had tried in the past, but blue cheese is the one that has been neglected over the years by this cheese lover... until now. I don't know what came over me the other day, but I found myself in the cheese section of Trader Joe's eyeing the blues (and to be honest, actually craving it). I wanted to make something for a going away party I was attending that evening and was inspired by the leftover roasted beets that I had made for dinner the night before. The wheels started turning -the mild flavor of roasted beets would pair well with the blue cheese, toasted walnuts would add some texture, and an orange-based dressing would play perfectly to offset the potent flavor of the blue cheese.

Orzo Salad:

1 16 oz. box orzo
2 medium roasted beets*, peeled and sliced.
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
Orange thyme dressing (see below)

Cook one 16 oz. box of orzo, according to package. Rinse, drain and allow to cool. To toast walnuts, add them to a heated dry skillet and cook at medium-high for about 3-5 minutes, stirring them frequently so they don't burn. Allow to cool.

In serving dish, mix in about 1/2 cup of the dressing with the cooked orzo. Stir in 1/4 cup blue cheese and 1/4 cup toasted walnuts. Lightly fold in the sliced beets. Note: Your orzo will likely turn pink - I rinsed and dried my roasted beets, but it still turned my salad into a dish fit for Valentine's Day. Top with remaining blue cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with another 1/4 cup of the dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Orange Thyme Dressing:

1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, dried and crushed
1/2 tsp fresh mint, dried and crushed
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and whisk together. Note: you might not need all of the dressing for the salad; store remaining dressing in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

*If you don't have roasted beets on hand: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove greens and wash beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on. Dry beets and place them in small baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the beets. Allow to cool, then peel and slice.

1 comment:

  1. Looks delish.....I can't believe I enjoyed eating the blue cheese last week! xoxo