Recipe: Corn and Zucchini Orzo

Cook’s Note Think of this recipe as your roadmap to dinnertime success, regardless of what’s in your pantry. The orzo can be replaced with quinoa, rice or other pasta. The corn and veggies can be swapped for eggplant, avocado or cherry tomatoes. Use goat cheese instead of feta, basil instead of cilantro. You get the idea! Local pottery by Susie Bowman / Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

This pasta salad makes a great vegetarian lunch, or pair with oven-roasted salmon for a perfect hot-weather dinner. It would also be wonderful topped with grilled shrimp!

3 ears corn, shucked 
1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise, or several smaller zucchini, halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
kosher salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/2 pound orzo 
1/4 cup tahini 
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder 
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro, divided

1 tablespoon red onion, thinly sliced  
2 ounces feta, crumbled 

1. Light the grill. Place corn and zucchini pieces on a large plate and brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until charred, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Remove the kernels from the corncobs and chop the zucchini. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Boil the orzo in salted water until it is al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Remove to a tray lined with paper towels to dry completely. 

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3. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the tahini, lime juice, chili powder and 1/2 cup of the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the orzo, corn, zucchini, red onion and the remaining chopped cilantro and mix well. Transfer to a platter and top with crumbled feta, for serving. Serves 6

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