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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013
Warm Orzo Salad with Beets and Greens
This warm orzo salad is stained fuchsia from cooking the pasta in the same tinted water as the beets, a thoughtful detail we love. And though we’d expect to see red onions left raw in a salad like this, caramelizing them makes the dish both heartier and sweeter, and they mingle happily with the salty bursts of feta, tender beets, woodsy greens and crunchy, toasted nuts (if you don’t have pine nuts, slivered almonds are a great inexpensive substitute).
— Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
3/4 lb. beets, with greens attached
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. orzo pasta
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat the pine nuts in a dry skillet, over medium heat, until they begin to brown. Watch them carefully, as they will burn in a flash. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
Peel the beets and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Remove the stems from the beet greens and slice the leaves into strips. Wash the greens thoroughly to remove any grit.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced red onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the beet greens. Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the beets in a pot of salted water, until just tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the beets from the pot using a slotted spoon and set aside. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook, according to the package instructions, until al dente and drain. Add the orzo to a bowl, along with the beets, pine nuts, beet greens and crumbled feta. Toss, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Serves 6.
— From “The Food 52 Cookbook: Volume 2” by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs (William Morrow, $30)