orzo with artichoke pesto and grilled corn

i spent my last childless saturday morning being as lazy as possible. i watched a couple hours of food network, caught up on a couple magazines, and did whatever else i felt like. that morning, i watched giada make this orzo pasta salad as part of a simple beach picnic and decided to invite some friends over for one last pre-baby dinner - and a reason to make the salad.

one of our good friends - who will remain nameless - hates artichokes. i mean, hates them with all his might. and of course, he just happened to be coming over for dinner. i was careful not to mention the artichokes and was pleasantly surprised to see him go back for seconds! while i haven't been able to totally convert him, it's a start.

orzo with artichoke pesto and grilled corn
adapted from giada de laurentiis
30 minutes, serves 10-12

1 pound orzo pasta
2 cups frozen corn kernels or 2 ears corn, shucked and cleaned
12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup fresh oregano
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2 garlic cloves
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  1. cook the orzo pasta according to the package directions. drain, do not rinse, and put back in the pot it was cooked in.
  2. while the orzo cooks, prep the corn. if using frozen corn, place in a sautepan over medium low heat. saute for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until it just starts to brown. remove from heat and set aside to cool. if using ears of corn, brush with olive oil and grill for a couple minutes until the corn just starts to brown. let cool for a few minutes and then cut the corn off the cob.
  3. to make the pesto, add the artichoke hearts, olive oil, almonds, oregano, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic cloves to a food processor and process until smooth. season with salt and pepper. 
  4. when the orzo is finished cooking (it's ok if the orzo is still hot or warm), mix in the pesto, corn, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. season with salt and pepper. serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator.

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