Refreshing Summer Orzo Salad

This is a wonderfully light salad for those hot summer nights. If you like, it goes well with the addition of either tuna or grilled chicken.

Yield

8 servings

Ingredients

4 cups chicken broth
1 (16 ounce) package orzo pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 (2 ounce) jar capers, with liquid
12 ounces basil-flavored feta cheese
1 (10 ounce) bag fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Bring the chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo pasta, and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, then pour the orzo into a bowl, and toss with the butter to keep it from sticking; set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic softens and the aroma mellows, about 2 minutes. Stir in the basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, and pine nuts. Cook and stir until the pine nuts have toasted to a light golden brown.

Stir the pine nut mixture into the orzo along with the olives, capers, feta cheese, spinach, and lemon juice. Serve either warm or cold, but it's better the next day.

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