The culinary adventures of a 20-something woman navigating the wonderful world of food!

The culinary adventures of a 20-something year old woman navigating the wonderful world of food!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

       Its almost nice enough to have barbeques in my neck of the woods, although day after day of rain is certainly not allowing us to jump-start summer. Nevertheless, I have a whole pile of 'summer' recipes I'd like to make this year, so even if the weather won't cooperate, I'm going ahead.
       This recipe is perfect for potlucks or barbeques, as it can easily stay outside without being refrigerated for a few hours without spoiling. You can certainly modify the ingredients a bit to use up what you have, keeping the oil/vinegar base the same. The amount here would easily serve 15+ people and is great for large gatherings.
  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts (these are VERY expensive to buy, omit if on a budget)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (I used black)
  • 1/2 cup high-quality olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

  • Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. 
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts, sun-dried tomato, basil and pepper. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold. Keeps 3-4 days.

Tip: Make sure you have a fine strainer for orzo as it is quite small, even after cooked. If you don't rinse with cold water, it will clump together so this step is quite important.