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Grilled Squash and Orzo Salad with Pine Nuts and Mint

Summer squashes, such as zucchini, pattypan and crookneck, have thin, edible skins and soft, edible seeds. They’re best cooked simply, steamed or grilled, then eaten on their own or used in soups, salads and pasta dishes. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. mixed yellow and zucchini squashes
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 lb. orzo 
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 Tbs. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted 
  • 1/2 cup curls or shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese  
  • 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint  

Directions:

Trim and cut the squashes lengthwise into slices 1/4 inch thick. Put in a bowl and add 1/2 Tbs. of the olive oil, the 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grindings of pepper. Stir to coat.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill and oil the grill rack.

Arrange the squashes on the grill rack and cook, turning once, until tender, 5 to 8 minutes total. (Close the lid if using a gas grill.) Let cool, then cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces and put in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add the orzo to the squashes and stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, the lemon juice, vinegar and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the cheese and mint. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).