Grilled Squash & Orzo Salad with Pine Nuts & Mint

Early in the summer, seek out baby squashes in a variety of shapes. Combining these with halved larger squash makes a beautiful presentation on a bed of pasta. Use a grill basket so you don’t lose any cherry tomatoes and baby squash, if using.

Salad of the Day, Weldon Owen, 2012.

Grilled Squash & Orzo Salad with Pine Nuts & Mint

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    2 pounds mixed yellow squash and zucchini 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
    Salt and freshly ground pepper 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
    1/2 pound orzo pasta Parmesan cheese for shaving (optional)
    1/2 cup pine nuts


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    • 1

      Trim and cut the squash lengthwise into slices 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick. Put in a bowl and add 1⁄2 Tbsp of the oil, 1⁄2 tsp salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Mix to coat.

    • 2

      Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat. Grill the squash, turning once, until tender, 5–8 minutes total. Let cool and cut into 11⁄2-inch (4-cm) pieces, and put in a large bowl.

    • 3

      Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water.

    • 4

      Meanwhile, in a dry frying pan, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant and starting to brown, 3–4 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool.

    • 5

      Add the orzo to the squash along with the remaining 1 Tbsp oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and pine nuts and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the mint. Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese over the salad, if using, and serve.

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