My sister LOVES Giada De Laurentiis! Because of my sister, several of Giada’s recipes are now staples in our house. The first time I had this pasta salad, my sister made it and brought it to a party. It was delicious. Since then I have made it dozens of times. Everyone always loves it. It is light and refreshing and tastes like summer.
I have found that this pasta salad goes perfectly with grilled salsiccia. This combo is great for lunch, dinner and fun to serve at a party. I pile the orzo into the middle of a platter and surround it with salsiccia. If I’m serving a lot of people I will cut the salsiccia into chunks; it will serve more people that way.
If you want to make the pasta salad exactly as Giada does, click here. I make a couple minor tweaks but I think they make it a little easier and a little tastier.
Tri-Colore Orzo Pasta Salad
Serves 8-10 as a side dish
1 lb Orzo Pasta
¼ c Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 c Arugula (about 3 oz)
¾ c crumbled Feta Cheese
½ c Dried Cherries
12 Basil Leaves, torn
½ c Pine Nuts, toasted
3 T fresh Lemon Juice
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add a large amount of salt and cook the Orzo until al dente (about 8 minutes). This is probably the only time I will ever say this but … drain the pasta and rinse it thoroughly in cold water.
Put the rinsed orzo into a large mixing bowl. Pour in the olive oil and toss. Tear the arugula a bit with your hands and add to the bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and toss everything together.
Make Ahead: I often make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. If you make it early, brighten it up right before serving with an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil, toss again and serve.
Note: This pasta salad is great to serve people who follow a vegan diet; just put the cheese on the side. I made half a recipe as a main course when my friend Leslie came over and we polished off the whole thing, just the two of us. Oops.