Is it Summer yet?
I am so ready to be outside without having an allergy attack. Grilling, boating, soakin’ up the sun! Oh I just can’t wait.
But, since Summer is still a few months away I am just going to pretend it’s Summer with lunch. Once you make this pasta salad and taste it, you will be hooked. The grilled corn adds an incredible smoky flavor while the artichoke pesto lends such great richness to the dish.
Mmmmm Mmmm Good! Are you with me yet?
This would be a great dish to serve at a ladies’ lunch, bridal shower, baby shower or any other small gathering. You could serve it as a side dish without the chicken thrown in, or as an entrée on it’s own. You can make it with shrimp, you can make it with salmon.
Basically the possibilities of this bad boy are endless.
You can have it for lunch, you can have it for dinner; this dish is sure a winner!
I can hear you thanking me.
Ingredients: makes a whole lot (about 9 cups)
1 pound whole wheat orzo pasta
2 ears corn, shucked and silks removed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 chicken breasts, grilled and cubed
1 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese to top
1 12oz package of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Start by seasoning your corn with a dash of butter. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill the corn turning often about 10 minutes. Grill the chicken 8 minutes per side, rotating once each side to get the most even doneness. Remove the kernels from the cob once done and cube the chicken into 1/2 inch bite sizes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
In a large mixing bowl add the chicken, corn, sliced cherry tomatoes and pasta.
For the pesto:
In a food processor, combine 2 cups of the artichokes, the walnuts, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and oil. Blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth.
Add the pesto and parmesan cheese to the mixing bowl and toss until evenly coated.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Run! Hurry! This dish won’t cook itself!