Monday, June 7, 2010

Orzo Salad with Lemon, Feta, and Pine Nuts

And I'm back!  I wonder if I even have any readers left?!  (Or have I ever had any....?  I know my Dad reads at least!)  I kid, I kid.  After a much needed hiatus I am back with some fun summer recipes and hopefully some more inspiration to try some new things.  John and I have fallen into what I hate to call is a rut, because it's not, but into a pattern of sticking with old faithful staples - that revolve solely around the grill.  Lots of grilled fish & chicken, which means I'm inside whipping up quick salads, couscous, or roasted veggies.   It's been refreshing and fun, and totally easy, which is what summer's all about after all.  

What else have I been up to?  We recently took a quick trip to Miami (Key Biscayne, which is about 15 minutes south of Miami) to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary.  I'll be doing more traveling throughout the summer, with a couple of work trips planned and of course a few more beach trips on the horizon.  What have I not been up to?  Running.  Well, not as much as I'd like.  My knees are still acting up so I've just been doing a lot of walking Sam, and recently started going back to the gym to get on the elliptical and remind the people at L.A. Fitness that I actually do have a membership.

Back to the food.  So, for Mother's Day we hosted John's mom, grandma, and sister here for a spring time lunch.  John made chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and artichokes - they were SO good but I forgot to take a picture!  On the side was a spinach salad that Sarah made which had a really good home made dressing, fruit salad, and a delicious new orzo salad that I found in a cookbook I had received as an engagement present: Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook.  I think most "first" cookbooks are a little too simple, but this one is awesome and I assure you, you do not have to be a bride or groom to enjoy the recipes!  I'll definitely be referring back to this book in the near future.

The thing that made this salad stand out was most definitely the dressing.  Filled with bright flavor, the dressing marinates the pasta and the longer it sits, the better it tastes.  It is also very versatile.  We served it as a side, but the next day enjoyed it mixed with roasted shrimp as a main course.   

Orzo Salad with Lemon, Feta, and Pine Nuts
Serves 4
Recipe Source: Bride & Groom: First and Forever Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup orzo
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons finely chopped black olives
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 ounces feta cheese

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.  

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to allow it to cool more quickly.  I drizzle a little bit of olive oil on it at this stage to keep it moist and prevent it from sticking.  After it has cooled for about 10 minutes or so, move to a large bowl and toss the pasta with the dressing.  

Toast the pine nuts by putting them in a small skillet over medium-low heat and cooking for about 5 minutes.  

Add the pine nuts, raisins, olives, red onion, and basil and stir to combine.  Add the feta and mix.  

Cover and refrigerate.  Bring back to room temperature before serving.


  1. This looks great. I've never tried cooking with orzo. I always think it would be similar to rice. Do you do it al dente or soft?
    Great blog anyhow.. :)