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Yay – electricity is back on, we have cable and internet installed in our new apartment….life is good. So on the 4th of July, N and I grilled out lamb burgers…and wow, we love them. I don’t do anything fancy with the meat – no spices or herbs, just ground lamb, salt and pepper – and on the grill it goes – served on a ciabatta bun with mayo, feta cheese, and tomato slices – amazing. But that’s not what this recipe post is about….(geez, letdown right!) – but this is a great side dish to include on your menu.

Orzo is pasta….but shaped like rice. It’s really nice and is great to use for salads. I chose to make a Mediterranean salad to go with our lamb burgers.

Here’s what you’ll need: orzo, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, spinach, grape tomatoes, can of artichoke hearts, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper. Not pictured: lemon juice. Optional: fresh garlic and red pepper flakes.

Now, normally I love garlic in a dish like this…but I had recently eaten at a Greek restaurant and tasted garlic for about 2 days afterwards….thus the intentional reason I left garlic out of this dish. It would be pretty great with a finely chopped garlic clove included.

Ok, here’s what you’ll need to do: cook the orzo per box instructions – basically cook it like regular pasta – takes about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the veggies – slice the sundried tomatoes, the olives, and tomatoes. Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts and slice into smaller pieces if necessary.

Then slice the feta into small pieces. Yum.

When it’s time to drain the orzo, I tossed the spinach into the colander to cook the spinach at the same time I was draining the orzo – saves me one less dish…yay!

Alright…now it’s time to toss it all together. Toss the pasta with the olives, tomatoes, spinach, artichokes, feta….then sprinkle over salt and pepper to taste (I used about 2 t. salt and 1 t. pepper), and 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and the juice from 1 lemon – or about 2 T. worth of juice. Mix…taste…adjust seasoning to your taste….add some red pepper flakes if you want a little heat….and that’s it!

This makes a lot of pasta salad….but I don’t mind that. I have a tendency to cook for a family of 6 when in reality it’s just me and N….but whatever, that’s how I roll. This pasta dish is light and refreshing – plus the only cooking is just for the orzo – so you don’t need to slave over the stove for a long time, which is nice with this crazy heat we’ve been having.

Other substitutions/additions that would work nicely: arugula for spinach – fresh mozzarella for feta, and add in some roasted red peppers…Enjoy!

Mediterranean Orzo Pasta
Serves 6
Click here for recipe.

Ingredients:
1 box orzo
12 sun dried tomatoes
20 kalamata olives
6 ounces grape tomatoes
1 can of arthichoke hearts
6 ounces feta
12 ounce bag of spinach
1.5 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. lemon juice, or juice from 1 lemon
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
Optional: red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Cook the orzo per box instructions – basically cook it like regular pasta – takes about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the veggies – slice the sundried tomatoes, the olives, and tomatoes. Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts, slice into smaller pieces if necessary.
  3. Slice the feta into small pieces.
  4. When it’s time to drain the orzo, I tossed the spinach into the colander to cook the spinach at the same time I was draining the orzo – saves me one less dish.
  5. Toss the pasta with the olives, tomatoes, spinach, feta….then sprinkle over salt and pepper to taste (I used about 2 t. salt and 1 t. pepper), and 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and the juice from 1 lemon – or about 2 T. worth of juice.
  6. Mix…taste…adjust seasoning to your taste….add some red pepper flakes if you want a little heat….and that’s it!

Enjoy!

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