NEW ORLEANS — Over the course of its 300-year history, New Orleans’ cuisine has been one of its greatest gifts to the world. Now, as we celebrate the city’s 300th birthday and WWL-TV’s 60th anniversary, our gift to you is a free e-cookbook, with free summertime recipes.

Click here to download the free "Summer Favorites" cookbook as well as the previous editions with Recipes for Cajun cooking, Lent, Global Cuisine and Holiday Recipes.

This edition of our "360 In the Kitchen" cookbook series focuses on dishes that are perfect for the long, hot south Louisiana summer. Coping with the heat and humidity of a New Orleans summer has been a way of life here from the beginning. From salads and dishes with lighter sauces to icy cool desserts, our cookbook gives you some creative recipe ideas to try without sacrificing any of the flavor that New Orleans cooks are known for.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup red, yellow and orange bell peppers, diced
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1" pieces with woody ends discarded,
  • 12 oz. cherry tomatoes, cut in 1/2
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled

Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

Garnish

  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

Toasting Pecans:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast pecans for 6-7 minutes or until toasty and fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Roasting Veggies:

  1. Turn oven up to 425 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. 
  2. Place the mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, garlic and sweet onion on one pan. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. 
  3. Using a spatula, mix all the veggies together with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then stir again. 
  4. Move 1/2 the veggie mixture to the other sheet pan. Spread the veggies in one layer, making sure there's no overlapping on both pans. 
  5. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 35-40 minutes (due to oven variations, keep an eye on your veggies and start checking your veggies at 25 minutes). Rotate pans 1/2 way through roasting.

Cooking Orzo:

  1. In a large saucepan bring 3 quarts vegetable stock to boiling. You do not need to add cooking oil to the pasta water; adding oil prevents sauces and seasonings from adhering to the orzo.
  2. Add 8 ounces (1-1/2 cups) dried orzo. Boil the orzo about 10 minutes or until it has a firm, chewy texture, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking together.
  3. Drain orzo in a colander. For the best flavor and texture, serve the orzo immediately after cooking.

Dressing:

  1. In a small bowl add the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk until all the ingredients are emulsified.

Assembly:

  1. In the large sauté pan, add the roasted veggies and all their juices, stir in the dressing, feta, and pecans to the orzo. Garnish generously with basil and parsley. Serve immediately.

---

---

More Recipes By Chef Kevin Belton:

---

► Get breaking news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News app now in the IOS App Store or Google Play.

---

Watch Chef Kevin Belton every Tuesday morning on Eyewitness Morning News on WWL-TV and WUPL.