Beer Beer Beer

Easy, Low-Fat Recipe: Summertime Orzo Pasta Salad

When I think of summer food, I think bright, bold flavors that won't weigh you down. And this summertime orzo pasta salad delivers on all fronts. It's got everything you'd want to awaken your palate in this brutal heat: There are woody kalamata olives; tart marinated artichoke hearts; cooling-sweet tomato; and a meaty bite of fresh, chunk feta cheese. Of course, you've also got the substance and flavor of beautiful orzo pasta. Paired with some light grilled fare like lemon-zest rubbed grilled vegetables or shrimp, this easy pasta salad makes summer feel sweet.

Summertime Orzo Pasta Salad

1/4 pound of dry orzo pasta

1 large vine-ripe tomato

1/4 cup of kalamata olives

1/2 cup of jarred marinated artichoke hearts

4 ounces of chunk reduced fat feta cheese

1 lemon

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of fresh oregano, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Start by boiling 2 quarts of water with a pinch of salt. Once it's come

to a boil, add your orzo pasta and cook for 9 minutes, until al dente.

Strain the pasta and toss with the olive oil, then set aside to cool.

Next, dice your tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces. When cutting tomatoes to

incorporate into a salad, I like to remove the pulpy, seedy interior --

it only waters your salad down and provides very little flavor.

Scooping the seeds out with your fingers works best.

Along with the tomatoes, dice a 4-ounce hunk of reduced fat feta cheese

into 1/4-inch cubes. You could just as easily use pre-crumbled feta

cheese, but I like the meaty bite that chunk feta adds to the salad.

Next, roughly chop about half a jar of marinated artichoke hearts,

being sure to drain as much of the oil as possible. Do the same with

your kalamata olives. I like to cut them into circles like you'd see in

a can of black olives (only these taste way better).

Finally, gently mix all the above vegetables into your cooled orzo.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and squeeze the juice of 1/2 to 1

whole lemon over the top. Then, the finishing touch: a scattering of

fresh oregano, roughly chopped.

The pasta is light, summery, and makes a perfect accompaniment to almost any grilled meal. Enjoy!

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Linn