I chose to make this salad because I had everything on hand except the spinach and feta, and also because I'm on a green-foods kick. I think that after spending a week living on sausages while moving into the new apartment, I really needed the vitamins that my last few days of meals have provided. Hooray for craving the things you need! This salad gets better the longer it sits, as the flavors continue to meld. This makes it perfect for leftovers, or for a potluck or dinner party as you can make it the day before.
Picking a recipe, going to the store, cooking, taking pictures, doing the dishes, editing the photos, and writing the process up is actually a lot more work than one might think it is. So, I forgot to take pictures while cooking. In fact, I forgot about the photos until after I'd put the leftovers into tupperware and got it out again for lunch today. Forgive me.
Spinach and Orzo Salad
from Simply Recipes
* 8 ounces orzo pasta
* 1/4 cup pine nuts
* 6 ounces feta cheese, roughly crumbled
* 2 ounces Kalamata Greek olives pitted, roughly chopped, about 1/2 cup (about 20 olives)
* 4 ounces baby spinach
* 1/2 cup chopped red onion (about half a red onion)
* 3 Tbsp olive oil
* 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
* 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (can substitute white vinegar or lemon juice)
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* Pinch dried basil
* Pinch dried tarragon
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Cook the orzo pasta. Bring to a boil a pot with 2 quarts of water in it. Once the water is boiling, salt it with a couple teaspoons of salt. Once the water returns to a boil add the orzo to the pot. Leave uncovered, cook on high heat with a vigorous boil. Put the timer on for 8-10 minutes, or whatever your pasta package says is appropriate for al dente (cooked but still a little firm). Drain. Rinse with cold water to cool quickly.
2 Toast the pine nuts by heating a small skillet on medium heat. Add the pine nuts and stir occasionally until the pine nuts are lightly browned. Pay attention or you'll burn the pine nuts.
3 Take half of the spinach and purée it in a food processor or blender, adding one tablespoon of the olive oil. Roughly chop the other half of the spinach. In a large serving bowl mix the spinach purée olive oil mixture in with cooked orzo until the pasta is well coated with the purée. Then gently mix in the remaining spinach, the red onion, feta cheese, pine nuts, and the Kalamata olives.
3 In a small jar, combine the remaining olive oil (2 Tbsp), balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, mustard, dried basil, and dried tarragon. Put a lid on the jar and shake to combine. (You can also just whisk together these ingredients in a small bowl, but the jar method works great to get a good emulsion.) Pour over orzo spinach mixture and gently mix in until well incorporated.
4 Chill for at least an hour before serving (the longer the better).