Greek-Style Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad 2

“I am Summer, come to lure you away from your computer… come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches.”
Oriana Green

After a fun KOA camping trip to the beautiful Monroe/Lynchburg, Virginia area with the kids for several days and after the 5 hour drive home to the beach it was obvious that no big dinner plans were in order so with a quick stop for some fresh spinach Curtis Stone’s orzo salad was the perfect choice for a light dinner, so easy and a cool hot night dinner.  The salad not too unlike many other recipes that I make using pasta and very adaptable.  I’m going to incorporate cucumbers, artichoke hearts, olives and perhaps fresh oregano with the remaining orzo.  This is a very good take along salad, great for parties and cookouts…

1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
3 cups (not packed) fresh baby spinach leaves
12 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons thinly sliced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions, stirring often until just tender. Drain the orzo in a sieve and set aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette:  I find that a little more feta in the dressing is a good thing!

In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, shallot, and garlic. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking to blend well. Stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To assemble the salad and serve:

In a large bowl, toss the orzo, spinach, tomatoes, nuts, and parsley with enough of the vinaigrette to coat.  Add the cheese. Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Mound the salad onto the center of a large platter, sprinkle with the chives, and serve.

Link to Curtis’ recipe: