With the holiday weekend approaching, it’s time to start making those grocery shopping lists to prepare for the barbecue or whatever plans are on tap. Although I love the stand-bys like potato salad and s’mores, sometimes I feel like we fall into the usual rut of side dishes. With so much fresh produce coming into season, it seemed appropriate to try to find something new to make.
BBC Good Food Magazine, which is one of my reliable recipe resources, had a whole section of courgette (zucchini) dishes in the June issue. One of them that caught my eye was this Courgette & Orzo Bake. Fortunately, the Greenmarket has already begun to showcase this summer’s crop of squash, so the basic ingredient wasn’t too difficult to find in every shape and size. From there, it was really just a matter of prepping everything and throwing it all together in a baking pan (I used a Pyrex one) to cook together.
This dish has lots of great flavor with the freshness of the in-season zucchini (or courgettes), the nuttiness of the Parmesan, the crisp of the breadcrumbs, and the al dente pasta. I think that next time, I would follow what one of the on-line commenters said and add pine nuts at that last 10-minute mark to add some extra heartiness to the dish. I would also sprinkle some chopped basil on top after it comes out of the oven for an additional herbal punch.
These summertime flavors would be wonderful with grilled chicken or burgers or, what really came to mind for me, lamb. It is fine served hot but even room temperature it would make a splendid side dish for any summer cookout. I think this one will go it to the recipe “keeper” file.