Sheet Pan Orzo with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon, & Mozzarella

I realize that many people avoid using the oven in warm weather, but I have a couple of quick sheet pan meals that make using the oven completely worth the extra summer heat.

In this dish, the pasta even cooks in the oven! It was super creamy as a result. The roasted lemon added incredible brightness. This recipe is from Meatless Sheet Pan Suppers: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight from the Oven by Raquel Pelzel. The cheese can be omitted for a vegan version. Delicious!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium-size lemon, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed
  • 3 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 16 oz orzo pasta
  • 3 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced crosswise into ribbons
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, roughly torn by hand
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, place a sheet pan on the rack, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Place the tomatoes, lemon, garlic, 1 tsp salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and the olive oil in a medium-size bowl and toss to combine.
  3. Carefully turn the tomato mixture out onto the heated sheet pan, spread it in an even layer, and roast for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and stir the vermouth into the tomato mixture.
  5. Using a spatula, press down on the tomatoes and lemon slices to extract their juices.
  6. Stir in the orzo.
  7. Pull the oven rack partway out of the oven and place the sheet pan on it. Carefully pour the boiling water into the orzo, stirring to combine and distribute evenly.
  8. Wearing oven mitts, cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil (you may need 2 sheets), crimping it tightly around the edges to seal. Bake the pasta for 15 minutes.
  9. Uncover the pan, add the remaining 1 tsp salt, stir, and cook, uncovered, to allow the juices to thicken and any partially cooked pasta from the top layer to absorb more liquid, about 5 minutes more.
  10. Preheat the broiler to high.
  11. Stir most of the basil into the pasta, then scatter the mozzarella cheese over the top. Sprinkle the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the mozzarella and broil until the cheese is melted and golden, 3 to 5 minutes more. Watch carefully!
  12. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes.
  13. Sprinkle the remaining basil over the top just before serving.
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Rigatoni with Lemon-Chile Pesto & Grated Egg

This lovely dish just screams spring. It is rich and buttery and topped with grated egg yolks. It is cheesy and slightly spicy, but at the same time bright and fresh with lemon juice and zest. It really has it all. 🙂

The recipe for this fabulous dish is from Bon Appetit. It is the third vegetarian pasta I’m bringing to the party this week at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #63. This was my favorite of the three – absolutely delicious!!!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 ounces rigatoni or other short pasta
  • coarse salt
  • 4 hard-boiled large egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ ounce Pecorino Romano, finely grated (about ½ cup)
  1. Cover the eggs with 1-inch of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes, drain, and fill with cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel the eggs. Set aside.
  2. Zest and juice the lemons.
  3. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente (pasta will still be opaque and very firm in the center). Drain pasta, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid.
  4. Meanwhile, finely grate egg yolks on the small holes of a box grater and set aside.
  5. Heat 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high.
  6. Add both kinds of lemon zest and juice and red pepper flakes, swirling pan to incorporate.
  7. Add pasta and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and cook, tossing often and adding more cooking liquid to help finish cooking pasta, until pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened and coats pasta, about 5 minutes.
  8. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add Pecorino Romano and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to pasta and toss until melted.
  10. Serve pasta topped with reserved grated egg yolks.

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