|Orzo Pasta Salad My Way|
There's something about the birth of September that makes me want to get down to serious cooking, baking and comfort foods. The nights are a little cooler, the days a little shorter and there is what can only be described as a crisp scent to the air. I love the feeling of shuffling through fallen leaves and sitting by a cozy fire reading a good book with a cup of hot chocolate or better yet a glass of award winning wine.
Alas summer is still clinging on with it's hot, lazy summer days. Now don't get me wrong because I am all for relishing the lazy days of summer so that is why the barbecue is still raring to go at a moments notice. Each season has it's pleasures. I am always searching for special salads to add to my long list of favourites and this one fits the bill to a "T".
This tasty salad is a perfect compliment to a barbecued salmon or chicken dish with it's light citrusy lemon notes. It takes pasta to a whole new level using rice-shaped pasta. Orzo is Italian and means "barley". I frequently use it in soups, salads and baked casseroles. Despite its rice shape, orzo is not made out of rice but of hard wheat semolina. It is also known as risone in Italian, manéstra or kritharáki ("little barley") in Greek, and şehriye (in Turkish).
This is my entry to this week's Presto Pasta Nights which I am submitting to Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast . This week's event is being hosted by Sweet Kitchen so go ahead and check out her site. You will be glad you did.
**Orzo Pasta Salad**
1 cup diced cucumber, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill (or more, to taste)
1/4 cup champagne vinegar or other white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup red onion diced
1/2 cup feta cheese, mashed with a fork
1 small lemon, zest and juice
Salt and pepper
Cook orzo in boiling water approximately 8 minutes. until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
Mix together champagne vinegar and rice wine vinegar and add to orzo immediately and allow to cool slightly.
Add oil, onion, lemon juice, and lemon zest and stir well.
When pasta is cooled to room temperature add cucumber, feta, salt and pepper and stir gently.
Chill for several hours to allow flavors to marry. Serve at room temperature if possible.
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