Take a look at this and you can see why they call orzo "risoni" (big rice). It does look like rice doesn't it? It's actually a pasta made in the shape of rice...... and I'd never really had any desire to make something that, well.... looks like rice. But one day I was puttering in the kitchen with the television on..... there's some "food show"..... I'm not really into "Food TV" anymore, but will have it on as white noise..... minus a few shows I just can't stand. Anyway, a subliminal "Orzo Salad" recipe just stayed with me. I think the original had raspberries or something like that. This version was just the thing on a summer day......
This ended up being pretty good, the Missus really enjoyed it.
The drill went like this; rehydrate sun dried tomatoes in warm water, cook the orzo in salted boiling water, just as any pasta. While orzo is cooking, toast pine nuts in a dry pan to lightly brown. Remove to a plate to cool. Drain orzo in in colander, before it is fully cooked. After the orzo briefly drains, pour the orzo out onto a cookie sheet adding some extra virgin olive and mix well. This will ensure that the pasta doesn't stick together. I actually chilled the orzo in the fridge since I wanted a chilled salad. After draining the sun dried tomatoes, I coarsely chopped them.
Putting the salad together was a snap; orzo, two hefty handfuls of baby arugula, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes in a metal bowl. Mix. Add a chiffonade of basil and mint..... basically two parts basil to mint. I used the best grade of Extra Virgin Olive Oil we had in the house, Liquid Gold 24, which has an acidity of less than .24%, a wonderful oil we bought during our trip to Crete. And combined the whole shebang. A mild crumbled goat feta cheese topped everything off. I served it with sliced of lemon on the side..... I wanted a bit more acid...the Missus enjoyed it just the way it was.
Love the flavors..... the pine nuts (not much, about 1/4 cup) looked very similar to the orzo and were nice flavor surprises. And of course pine nuts and basil is a great combination. The mint added a nice palate cleansing element as did the tart sun dried tomatoes. The peppery arugula added the bitter element to the dish. The fruity olive oil and mildly salty feta brought it all together..... I'm probably going to make this again soon. It's so easy.... just remember to use a good olive oil.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful long weekend!