In honor of Labor Day Weekend, I am sharing one of my favorite pasta salad recipes. Make this, and seriously- I promise- you will be the hit of the BBQ. There are a few steps, but nothing that needs to be cooked (besides the pasta) and that makes me happy in this 90+ degree N.C. heat!
This recipe will easily feed a large BBQ of 15-20 people as a side dish:
16oz of Orzo Pasta
2 Red Peppers
2 Green Peppers
2 Cans of Corn (strained)
2 Cans of Black Beans (rinsed)
2 Cans of Diced Tomatoes (I use Rotel with green chilis)
1/4 Cup Hot Sauce (whatever is your fav - add less or more depending on your heat tolerance)
1/4-1/2 cup Olive Oil
Fresh Cilantro (optional)
Boil orzo in salted water until al dente
Strain & cool pasta (add and mix in olive oil right away to keep it from sticking together in clump)
Dice Peppers into 1/4-1/2 inch squares
Add corn, diced tomatoes (rotel), peppers and black beans to pasta (leave the avacados out!)
Add all spices and liquids with a generous amount of lime to the cooled orzo pasta (I would do this little by little - stir everything together and then add more to your liking). Mix well to incorporate flavors.
** Be aware that once this salad has time to sit it does absorb a lot of the liquid and flavors - I usually make it on the spicy side - because once it has been chilled it tends to mellow out slightly**
Once you have the salad flavored to your liking, let it chill for an hour or two in the fridge.
Just before your BBQ, mix the pasta salad well. Take a taste. Add more seasoning if needed (I find it always needs a little bit more lime - it really puts it over the edge)
Dice your avacados and place them on top of the salad (do not mix them in). Squeeze lime on the avacados (this will help to keep them from browning).
Lastly, add a lime wedge or wheel and a sprig of cilantro to the top. Add some Cayenne, salt and pepper for extra color on the lime wedge and avacados.