A spinachy and great dish shared recently with a friend was a beautiful orzo salad. In this recipe, the orzo we are using is a Greek, rice-shaped pasta, similar to the Italian Risoni. Don’t confuse it with the Italian orzo, which is barley.
Elegant Orzo with Wilted Spinach and Pine Nuts
The original recipe is from AllRecipes.com. I have not made many changes to it, so make and enjoy! A lovely side salad or a light lunch by itself.
about 400g orzo (the rice shaped pasta, not barley) or risoni
0.25 cup olive oil or more as needed
2 Tblspn butter
0.5 tspn minced garlic
0.5 tspn dried basil (or use fresh basil, finely chopped)
0.5 tspn red pepper flakes or large pinch chilli powder (to taste)
1 cup pine nuts
1 bag baby spinach, about 250g or so
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar – white balsamic is good if you can get it, otherwise use a good quality red
250g feta cheese, crumbled, or cut into small cubes
1 tomato, diced
salt and some black pepper to taste
Cook the orzo pasta for 8 to 10 minutes in a pan of salted, boiling water. (Firm or slightly under-cooked orzo works best for this dish.) Drain, transfer to a mixing bowl, and set aside.
Heat olive oil and butter together in a large pan over medium high heat. Stir in garlic, dried basil and red pepper flakes, and reduce heat to medium. Stir in pine nuts and cook until lightly browned. Add spinach, cover, and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
Toss spinach mixture (and fresh basil, if using) with orzo pasta. Portion onto serving plates with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese and chopped tomatoes. Adjust seasoning as needed. Enjoy!