Chilled Orzo Salad
|1 1/2 cupOrzo Pasta|
|12 oz Marinated artichoke hearts|
|1/2 cupGrape tomatoes; Halved|
|1 LargeCucumber; Sliced into quarter moons|
|1 Shallot; Minced|
|1 cupFeta cheese|
|1/4 CupBlack Olives; Sliced and drained|
|1/4 CupFresh Italian parsley; Chopped|
|1 tablespoonFresh oregano; Minced|
|2 tablespoonsFresh basil; Minced|
|4 tablespoonsFresh lemon juice|
|2 teaspoonsLemon zest|
|1 cloveGarlic; Minced|
|Salt and pepper; To Taste|
Chilled Orzo Salad Preparation
In a large pot of salted water, boil the orzo pasta for 2 minutes less that directed on its packaging. Drain well and shock the pasta in an ice bath for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade for the dressing to be applied later. Cut the artichoke hearts into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the grape tomatoes, the cucumber quarter moons (cut 1/4 inch thick), the minced shallot, the feta cheese (I use a herb flavor feta), the black olives, and the parsley. Completely drain the orzo pasta from its ice bath and add to the bowl. Toss well to mix.
In a large mouth mason jar, add the artichoke marinade, minced oregano, minced basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Put a lid on the jar and shake it to create an Italian dressing. Pour the dressing over the bowl of salad ingredients, toss to coat and finish with salt and pepper as needed.
Don't over cook the orzo. It should have a slight "bite" to it before it is chilled. It will finish cooking as it cools and will then take the dressing as it would take a sauce.
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