Orzo is like a dependable friend – versatile, mixes well with others, but distinct and fun on its own. I’m an out and out fan. In lieu of the traditional radiatore pasta or bowties for a potluck stunner, why not outstanding orzo? This particular combination features peppery arugula, sweet tomatoes and salty mizithra cheese all gussied up with a light vinaigrette. It looks sunnier than Miss America in the Sahara desert.
Mizithra cheese is a rather fun addition – a hard sheep milk cheese made in Greece. It’s salty like feta, but drier and crumblier – perfect for a lively pasta salad. If you can’t find mizithra, you can certainly use ricotta salata or feta cheese. Also, try to use the best olive oil you can get your hands on – when you have a recipe with so few ingredients and little to no cooking, it helps to keep the flavors strong.
Orzo Salad with Arugula and Mizithra Cheese
1 lb. of orzo
2 heirloom tomatoes, diced
3 c. of arugula leaves, loosely chopped
1/2 c. of olive oil
6 oz. of mizithra cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of pepper
4 tbs. of rice wine vinegar
3 tbs. of sliced green onion
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt heavily. Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Drain and cool with running water. Drain again well and add to a large mixing bowl. Toss the orzo with the tomatoes, arugula, olive oil, cheese, salt, rice wine vinegar, pepper and green onions. Chill for at least 20 minutes and then serve.