Sunday, September 5, 2010

Greek pasta salad

Okay, so this is another old recipe that has been sitting around waiting to be posted.  Summer is pretty much over, and I'm just getting around to posting it.  I took these pictures in May, btw...  Oops. 

Anyways, this is a simple pasta salad that is soooo good.  It's Greek, of course and in all honesty, the only pasta salad in the world I like.  I know, I'm a nut.

And it was a hit at my friend's birthday party!  I don't use vinegar in this pasta salad, I use lemon juice as my acid.  It's adds a brighter flavor to the pasta salad, but it's mellowed out by the olive oil, so it's not really tart. 

Anyways here ya go!

Greek pasta salad
1 lb orzo pasta, fully cooked, rinsed with cold water and tossed with a splash of olive oil before it is cold
1/2 lb of cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz container of crumbled plain Athenos feta cheese
Handful of chives, chopped
2 seedless cucumbers, skin off and cut into 1/2 thick triangles
1 tsp Garlic Garlic (from Tastefully Simple)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 2-3 lemons
Olive oil
Dried oregano, basil and parsley. Use your own judgment on these.  I only used about a quarter sized amount of each poured into my palm.
Lots of fresh crack pepper
Dash of sea Salt
Sprinkling of crushed red pepper, optional

After you cook the orzo, rinse briefly with cold water to keep from sticking and to cool off.  Before the pasta is completely cooled, toss in a splash of olive oil to flavor the pasta. 
I will also toss in the dried herbs, fresh pepper, crushed red pepper (if using) salt and Garlic Garlic, so they can stick to the pasta better and flavor it up too.  You may need to drizzle more olive oil if it looks dry. 
Toss all of the veggies and chives together, letting the juices of each blend together.  Toss in the lemon juice.
Let each bowl sit out, covered with some plastic wrap.  Let it sit for an hour or so.  Once they've both had a chance to sit, get a bigger bowl and toss it all together.     
My suggestion to you is to make this the night before and let it sit in the fridge, covered, overnight.  
Take it out a couple hours before use.  Taste it.  Is it too dry?  Toss in a bit more olive oil.  Does it need salt, more pepper?  A bit more lemon, perhaps?  Do all of this now, so that way it has a couple of hours to sit.  Remember, the flavors are more prominent after it has been sitting a couple of hours.  I do not add the feta until right before serving.  This helps keep the acid from breaking down the cheese.  And the feta is certainly more potent and flavorful if added just before serving. 


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