Totally delicious and fresh tasting that’s what this is. Looking for an easy, fresh side dish? This could be it. It’s very easy and took about 1/2 hour to make whole recipe and I served it alongside Mustard Glazed Salmon for dinner. Mint gives this dish the most wonderful layer of flavor, don’t leave it out. Easy, quick and packed full of flavor, you can even add crushed red pepper for a little heat if you like.
1 pound orzo pasta
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1/8 cup olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup or more feta cheese use as much or as little as you like but at least 1 cup for that tang and bite. I used crumbled feta which makes it a little easier to work with. Block of Feta is fine and equally delicious, you’ll just have to cut it up.
1 cup or more arugula ( I used a little more) but use at least 1 cup
1/2 cup fresh mint , chopped ( don’t omit)
3 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt ( you may want to taste before adding this , I used 1 teaspoon )
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( you may want to taste before adding this as well, this is what I did)
Prepare orzo according to box directions for al dente and make sure you add salt to water
While the pasta is cooking, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and sauté until the shallots soften and the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes on a very low heat. Be careful not to burn! Add the cherry tomatoes, and then heat for another few minutes and then I put heat on the lowest setting and let tomatoes just sit on stove-top while orzo cooked. ( about 5 more minutes)
Add tomato mixture to a large bowl along with the feta, arugula, mint and balsamic vinegar.
Drain the orzo and allow to cool a little bit. Add it to the bowl, and drizzle app. 1/8 of a cup of olive oil. Toss well . Taste for Salt and Pepper, I added 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Adjust seasoning to your taste. I put it in refrigerator till we ate dinner, it can be served cold or warm, delicious either way.
Toss and Serve.
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper