Saturday, July 30, 2011

Poolside Lunch: Smokey Tomato Orzo and Mozzarella, Pesto Panini

Yesterday, I was planning my menu for a girls lunch at my pool (with my 7 best girlfriends: Melissa, Allison, Stephanie, Sarah, Rachel, Marin and Sheryl).  With my new "twitter" account, I sent Giada DeLaurentiis (@GDeLaurentiis) a note asking her what she recommended for a vegetarian girls lunch by the pool (Rachel and Marin aren't carnivores like the rest of  us). To my surprise, she wrote back within an hour that she recommended her Orzo with Smokey Tomato Sauce.  You can find the recipe at this Link.

The secret ingredient is Smoked Salt. I had never heard of smoked salt before, but heard you could buy it at Whole Foods.  I went to Publix and didn't find it, next stop World Market and didn't find it...last ditch effort in the same shopping center - TJ Max HomeGoods, and it was there in the specialty foods section!  This recipe is INCREDIBLE.  I served it cold. I made according to the recipe except I used one pint of grape tomatoes and one pint of cherry instead of both cherry.  The honey is a great touch!

To go along with the Smokey Tomato Orzo, I made Panini sandwiches.  I bought 2 fresh baguette loaves and split each in half length wise.  I spread each side with a pesto and basil mixture (from the refrigerated section - 1 container) and then layered fresh mozzarella slices, basil slices, tomato slices, portobello mushroom slices (marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and then lightly cooked in a pan).  I then put a little olive oil on the outside of the bread and put them in my panini press (I cut each sandwhich into 4 slices for a total of 8 sandwhiches). I then served cold.

Lemon Bars for dessert!  It was great! 


  1. Best lunch ever! Great food and company! Thanks Chef Jessica!

  2. Glad you liked it! We'll do it again soon :)

  3. Looks like an interesting recipe, I'll have to try it. Next time make a luncheon for Mothers and I'll be there! Natalie