Spring Orzo Pasta Salad


Happy Easter!  We are hosting Easter dinner again this year.  In attendance will be my mom, my brother, his fiance, my niece, and Joel's parents.  When thinking about side dishes to make, I somehow stumbled upon this salad from Food for My Family.  It seemed like the perfect spring salad, and it was super easy, too! I was able to make it yesterday and let the flavors meld together in the fridge overnight.  Certainly beats the labor-intensive risotto I was thinking of making!

1 bunch Asparagus, diced (I omitted since I also had an asparagus dish on the side)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Shallots, minced (I had some leftover chopped up red onion, so I used that instead)
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
12 ounces Orzo, cooked to al dente and cooled
1 (15 ounce) can Artichoke Hearts
1 1/2 cups Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, julienned
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup Olive Oil

Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil.  Turn off the burner and add in asparagus pieces, blanching for 2-3 minutes.  While the asparagus is in the water, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small saute pan.  Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, just until tender.  Drain the asparagus and rinse with cool water.  In a large bowl, add the cooked orzo pasta, asparagus pieces, and sauteed shallots and garlic.  Drain the artichoke hearts and quarter them, then add to the bowl.  Add in the sun-dried tomatoes with oil and the lemon zest.  Stir to combine.  In a small bowl or container, whisk together the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.  While continuously whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the vinegar.  Once emulsified, stir the dressing into the salad.  Move the salad to the fridge for at least 5 hours for the flavors to combine.  Serve cold.