I’ve had an ongoing love affair with orzo for quite some time. Incredibly versatile, it’s a tiny pasta shaped like rice that can be used in so many ways. In this salad, it’s the juices from the roasted tomatoes that seep into the orzo and create a sumptuously smart dressing that works for me. Accessorised with pockets of melting feta, it not only looks the part, it also tastes great.
Orzo, Roasted Tomato & Feta Salad
salada kritharaki me frigmenes tomades kai feta
Serves 2 as a main, 6 as a side dish
300g orzo pasta
a handful of baby plum tomatoes
a handful of fresh basil, torn
200g feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons pine nut kernels, toasted
finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Simmer the orzo in plenty of boiling salted water for about 8 minutes or until just done – don’t overcook it. Drain, rinse under cold running water and tip into a large bowl. Drizzle over a little olive oil to stop the “grains” sticking together and set aside.
While the orzo is cooking, halve the tomatoes, place in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until they just start to char.
Pour the roasted tomatoes, including any juices, into the bowl with the cooked orzo, then add the torn basil, crumbled feta and a generous hit of ground black pepper.
Finish dressing the orzo with another drizzle of olive oil, then add the toasted pine nuts and lemon zest and juice – taste while you are adding this as you need only a touch of lemon juice.
Extracted from Orexi! by Theo A Michaels (Ryland Peters & Small, approx €20). Photography by Mowie Kay.