food for thought and for the pot;)

when i want to relax i usually watch tv. the food network makes me forget the zillions of things i have to do. some of the shows i like are barefoot contessa, 30 minute meals, and that show hosted by alton brown in which he adds zaniness to the science of food. he reminds me of thomas dolby, both in looks and 'he blinded me with science.' i also like nigella lawson and wonder what happened to her. the sensuousness she brings to cooking would make almost any man want to don an apron (panditji, are you reading this;) anyway, the recipe which i want to put down is orzo with roasted vegetables:

from the barefoot contessa's anniversary episode:

This recipe is a slight variation of a wonderful summer dish invented by Sarah Leah Chase in her book, The Open House Cookbook.

1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/3 cup good olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing: 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons) 1/3 cup good olive oil 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble: 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts) 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled) 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.