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Orzo with Kale Pesto

Posted Aug 07 2012 12:03pm
It feels so good to be home. Waking up each morning in my own bed, fresh clean sheets. I no longer need to pack up my belongings each day, into my trusty pack, on another journey. Now my journey belongs in the kitchen. Trying to come up with some delicious, seasonal inspired dishes that we all can enjoy. 

When travelling, I know that I've become homesick when I start craving my favorite foods, my kitchen, my plates, my cups. This trip, I started craving avocados, fish tacos, veggie burgers, fresh salads, spinach, and kale. Since returning home I've eaten avocado on toast for breakfast each morning, although today I switched it up and had a tuna baguette, probably because I am now missing Paris. 
Yesterday afternoon, I walked down to my new grocery store, Trader Joes, which is conveniently located a block west. Just beside Madison Market, oh I am so spoiled in Seattle. My eye caught a gorgeous dark green bunch of leafy kale. Inspired by a pesto recipe I saw a while back by Jeanine at Love and Lemons , I new this would be the perfect recipe for a lazy afternoon.

I recommend serving this salad cold, nice and summery with a glass of Pinot Grigio on the side. In the winter, I foresee this dish warm with soft melted cheese and a glass of Pinot Noir. Orzo and kale pesto salad would make and excellent side dish for a weekend barbecue. Make this dish a couple of days in advance and enjoy it for lunch meals, or a quick snack while on the go. 
INGREDIENTS1 cup dry orzo
1 bunch kale, chopped1/4 cup pine nuts1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated2 cloves garlic1/3 olive oil, or moresalt and pepper to taste1/2 yellow pepper, diced5 shiitake mushrooms, diced1/2 tbsp butterfeta cheese, crumbled
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the dry orzo and cool until al dente, 7- 10 minutes.
Once cooked, drain the orzo and then run it under cold water until it has cooled. Place the orzo in a bowl and set to the side.
To blanch the kale, bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add the chopped kale for a couple of seconds and then submerge into a bowl filled with ice water. Drain the kale and then squeeze out any excess water. Let dry.
In a food processor, add the kale, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Pulse until you have a paste. You made need to add some water or oil to thin out the pesto.
In a pan, fry the yellow pepper and shiitake mushrooms with butter until soft.
Mix half of the pesto into the orzo and combine. Add the mushrooms and peppers, and then crumble in the feta cheese. Serve cold. May be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

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