An orzo salad packed with freshly-made basil and olive oil pesto, toasted pine nuts, shredded baby spinach and parmesan cheese. This is a simple, subtle salad that would be perfect served with other 'little' salads or as part of a buffet.
6tablespoonsgood quality extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra
2ouncesfresh baby spinach leavesfinely chopped
2tablespoonsparmesan cheesegrated (quite thickly)
2tablespoonswhite wine or cider vinegar
salt & pepper
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions (you want it to be al dente so don’t overcook), then drain in cold water and put into a medium bowl. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan on a medium heat. Keep jiggling them around until they are lightly brown.
Put about two thirds of the basil, a handful of the toasted pine nuts, the garlic and the 6 tablespoons olive oil into a food processor (a baby one is perfect) and whizz for a few seconds until well combined (the pesto can be slightly chunky or totally smooth – doesn’t really matter). Tip the pesto over the orzo and combine well. Then add the chopped spinach, the rest of the basil (chopped a little), the rest of the pine nuts, the parmesan and vinegar and combine again. Season to taste.
Spoon the pasta salad into a nice bowl (if you like) to serve, then drizzle over a little extra olive oil.
Based on a salad I've been eating for ages from Marks & Spencers! Thanks for the idea, Marks & Sparks!This is great served as a side dish with other salad-y ‘bits’ e.g. baked potatoes with a filling or two, a green salad, coleslaw, quiche etc.!Add small cubes of feta cheese, sundried tomatoes or asparagus spears to this salad if you want to ‘jazz it up’ a bit!