Food Gold: Greek Orzo Salad

Posted on Sep 1st, 2010 in Food Gold by admin

For this week’s recipe we are passing the mic inter-office style to FG’s own Rachel Etheredge, who is going to school us on making Greek Orzo pasta salad. Rachel writes:

This is great as a side dish or main course. Just remember to prepare it a few hours before you intend to eat. It may feel weird to cook something and not eat it immediately but just ride with it and let the flavors do their funky thing. Also, as you are prepping your ingredients be mindful that the star of the show should be the orzo. The other key players all have VERY strong flavor profiles so don’t go nuts on any one ingredient and aim for a beautiful, colorful balance. Enjoy!

Greek Orzo Salad

1 lb Orzo pasta
1 block (approx a cup and a half) goats milk feta, cubed (Note: this MUST be the creamy kind, not the usual dry, crumbly kind. This is important, yo.)
1/3 cup of pine nuts, toasted golden brown at 325 degrees then cooled
1/4 medium sized red onion, sliced and roughly diced. Remember this will be served raw so you don’t want the pieces to be too big.)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
handful or two of fresh washed + chopped spinach for garnish and some nice color (do it)

Dressing:
1/4 cup nice quality olive oil
1/4 canola or grapeseed oil
1/3 cup good quality Balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper to taste

Recipe:

1. Cook orzo in a large pot of very salty (like the ocean) water for approx 8-9 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool and then refrigerate.

2. In a small bowl, mix oils then add vinegar and salt to make the dressing, pour over cooled pasta.

3. As the dressing & pasta get to know each other, toast pine nuts in 350 degree toaster oven or cook over medium heat until golden brown, approx 6 minutes. Pine nuts can cook REALLY quick towards the end so keep an eye and nose out. Reserve on paper towels.

4. Throw chopped onion into the cooled pasta, stir and then add your Kalamata olives. Stir again.

5. Add your pine nuts and cubed cheese, being careful not to overmix things. It’s best if you keep the cheese cold so it is easier to slice.

6. Add chopped spinach and drink some wine. Check for seasoning but be aware that the olives and cheese will be plenty salty after marinating in the fridge.

7. Let all the flavors get disco with each other and find the love. The longer you let the flavors marry in the fridge, the better this will be.

I hope you give this a try! It’s easy and quick and keeps perfectly for about a week.