January 27, 2009

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I know it's not the season for pasta salad but I had all the ingredients on hand (including some stuff I needed to use up) and with a glass of hot tea to balance out the coldness, it's definitely manageable.  Plus, the richness of the feta cheese, nuttiness of the whole wheat pasta and bold vinegar-y flavor of the kalamata olives make this more of a comfort food pasta salad than a light summer side dish.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

3/4 cup whole wheat orzo
about 7 kalamata olives, chopped
1 1/2- 2 oz feta cheese
1/4 bag spinach, chopped
2 tbsps red wine vinegar

Cook and drain the orzo reserving a bit of the hot pasta water.  Do not rinse the noodles.  Add about half the feta, all the olives, spinach and red wine vinegar to the orzo in the pot you used to cook the pasta (or a large bowl) and combine well.  Add reserve pasta water to make the sauce thinner if needed.  The heat from the noodles and pasta water should wilt the spinach. 

Transfer the pasta mixture to a refrigerator safe container and top with the other half of the feta.  Let cool to room temperature and move to the refrigerator until cold. 

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