orzo with deconstructed pesto

Does anything make you sound like more of a pretentious jerk than describing something as “deconstructed?”

I don’t think so.

In fairness, my intention for this dish was to just make regular old pesto. But a certain married couple that I live with is a liiiiiittle bit possessive over their Ninja blender and took it up to the lake with them for the week. I guess I can’t be mad because wine slushies.

It wasn’t that much more time consuming to just chop everything up and throw it in, and you still get the pesto flavor for sure. But if you own the rights to your blender, feel free to use it. You can also feel free to do pine nuts or any other nut in place of the pistachios, but especially when they’re chopped up like this they look pretty pretty!

Orzo with Deconstructed Pesto

1 lb orzo pasta

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

3 oz Parmesan cheese, chopped/grated

6-7 slices Serrano ham, chopped (you could easily sub prosciutto)

3-4 cups arugula

juice of one lemon

2-3 tbs olive oil

1 garlic clove

salt, pepper

Start by cooking the orzo. I threw a garlic clove in the pot while the pasta was cooking (I also do this for mashed potatoes, too). I cooked it a couple of minutes under package directions so that it would still have some bite to it.

While the pasta is cooking, chop up the basil, pistachios, and ham. I chopped up some of the Parmesan and grated some- I like to have chunks of it in the pasta.

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Put all of this at the bottom of a large bowl, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with the arugula.


Pour in the hot pasta and toss everything together. The arugula should wilt a lot with the heat of the pasta, and you may want to add more depending on how green you want the dish to look. I took the cooked garlic clove and ran it through my garlic press, and added that too.

Check the seasoning- you may need to add more salt/pepper/CHEESE. Hence the chopping and the grating technique.


We ended up eating this at room temperature and I was obsessed with it. I ate it really fast and gave myself a terrible stomachache. Literally my bowl was empty before the GS had even made a dent in his. It was pretty horrifying.


Apparently a little pretension does not equal being ladylike.

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