This past weekend I helped a dear friend pull off a really fun surprise party. She and her husband were hosting this party for their oldest son to celebrate his 18th birthday and his accomplishment of receiving the BSA Eagle Scout Award. For the past two weeks we talked, texted, plotted and planned the menu. With 35 guests on the list, we knew we needed lots of delicious food but decided to keep it simple. Beth served sliders, grilled chicken and BBQ (that's what we call pulled pork in the South) along with several salads, and spicy baked beans. One of the salads was my fresh Orzo Pasta Salad. It's a great dish for a party since it's most flavorful when served at room temperature and you can change up the ingredients depending on what's seasonally fresh.
We all gathered at Beth's house, my oldest son put our sneaky plan into action and then, at just the right moment, everyone shouted "surprise!" Let me just say, the guest of honor turned a little red! There were tears from Mama, big smiles from Dad and the party was underway. We all had a wonderful time. We enjoyed a great dinner, laughed and shared stories about our lives & families. I loved helping my sweet friend celebrate such important milestones in her son's life. More importantly, I love my friendship with Beth, Alan and both of their sons...that's something that I can celebrate over and over.
Orzo Pasta Salad1 lb Orzo pasta
1 container of cherry tomatoes
1 lb french green beans
1 lb feta cheese - about 2 cups
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 up of chopped fresh basil
- Wash and trim green beans. Blanch beans & drain then cut into 1 inch pieces.
- Wash tomatoes and cut in half.
- Cook pasta according to package directions - in salted water, approximately 9 minutes.
- While pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Drain cooked pasta & rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl.
- Add green beans and tomatoes to pasta.
- Drizzle about 3/4 of dressing over pasta & veggies and toss. Let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes allowing flavors to marry.
- Sprinkle on feta cheese and basil, add remaining dressing and gently toss to mix.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Transfer to serving dish or platter. Best served at room temperature.
- Notes ~ broccoli, sugar snap or snow peas and asparagus can be substituted for green beans. Red onion is also a flavorful addition to this salad.