Spinach and Orzo "Under Glass" Salad Recipe

Cool and refreshing pasta salads are tasty year-round, but these sorts of quick and easy appetizers are particularly appealing in the hot summer months. Orzo is an oval rice shaped pasta that comes in multi-colored varieties for a bright splash of color and is very flavorful served chilled.

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta, tri-colored
10 ounces baby spinach leaves, chopped fine
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, finely sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup black ripe olives, finely minced
Cracked black pepper and salt, to taste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions: 1. Prepare spinach and basil and set aside.

2. In a small bowl combine the vinegar and mustard. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously to create vinaigrette.

3. Cook orzo pasta according to package directions. For additional flavor, add chicken broth to the pasta water before cooking. Drain pasta and toss with spinach, basil, pine nuts, black olives and the vinaigrette.

4. Chill for no less than two hours before serving. Serve prettily in small wine glasses or even coffee mugs with small spoons to encourage portability and getting every last bite.

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