orzo and roasted carrot salad

This is great barbecue food. I got the recipe from Martha several years ago and it's become one of my standards for potlucks and backyard parties. This salad stores well, transports well, and can sit outside for a while (unlike potato salad). And from first-hand experience, I can tell you it's a darn tasty complement to grilled seafood, fish, and to BBQ chicken.

orzo and roasted carrot salad
serves 4-5 (can be easily doubled for a large crowd)

1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
olive oil (extra virgin)
coarse salt
1/2 lb orzo
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 scallions, roughly chopped
1/3 C loosely packed fresh dill, roughly chopped
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut carrots diagonally into largish pieces (1-2"). On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots and unpeeled garlic cloves with some olive oil and a couple pinches of salt. Roast until carrots are tender and browned (15-20 mins). Remove from oven and let cool baking sheet. Squeeze garlic cloves from skins and cut/mash to form a paste. Put paste into a small dish and set aside.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook orzo according to package directions (7-8 mins). Drain. While still warm, transfer orzo to a large bowl and toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Let cool slightly, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking together.

Meanwhile, in small bowl with garlic paste, mix together lemon zest, lemon juice, and scallions. Add dill to dressing. Add roasted carrots to bowl of orzo and stir together. Pour dressing over mixture. Stir to combine well. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Serve at room temp.

You can also make the salad the day before and store it in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. Bring to room temp before serving.

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