Saturday, January 23, 2010

Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Basil

Okay, the name of this dish is pretty self-explanitory. It may seem a little strange, but it's seriously SO good! The juicy cranberries, tangy vinaigrette, sweet basil, and spicy pepper combine to create a really well-balanced dish. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

  • 4 oz. orzo pasta
  • 1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 medium-sized fresh basil leaves
1. Cook the orzo in salted boiling water until al dente (done, but not mushy).

2. While the orzo is cooking, chiffonade the basil by stacking the leaves, rolling them up like a cigar, and slicing it to create long strips.


3. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (You just made a vinaigrette!)


4. When the orzo is done, drain the pasta, but do not rinse it! You want to keep the starch on the pasta, that way the vinaigrette will adhere to it better.

5. While the orzo is still hot, add the basil, dried cranberries, and dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • Always salt your water before cooking pasta. This is the only way to really season the pasta, and not just the sauce. In order to have a well-seasoned dish, you have to season every layer.
  • Some people don't like to cut basil because it bruises the leaves, and if you're one of those people, tear away. It'll still taste delicious.
  • No matter what you've heard, NEVER add oil to your pasta water. It will keep the sauce from sticking.
  • I added a lot of freshly ground black pepper at the end, and i'd suggest doing the same. The bite of the pepper really adds an important pop to the dish.


  1. The salt also makes the water boil faster because it breaks up the intermolecular forces.
    Thank you Dr. Strouse :)

  2. Excellent! I never knew that... Thanks!

  3. I love how Jackies name is Alpha.