Orzo and Artichoke Pasta Salad

10/10—–Just for you Simple Dinners friend!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of Orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided (I didn’t use this much evoo! I used a little over 1/4 cup.)
  • 2 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 pints of cherry tomatoes, sliced (I like to use a couple varieties)
  • 8 oz. artichoke hearts in oil (I buy mine from Costco)
  • 3 Tablespoons Capers, drained
  • 5 Tablespoons Cilantro (you can use less if you want, or even substitute the cilantro for Thyme if you don’t like Cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper or lemon pepper is good too (to taste)
  • If you want to add protein — you can add some cooked and sliced chicken breast

Directions:

Cook Orzo according to directions

Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Pour the reserved liquid back in with the orzo. This liquid helps create a “sauce” when the other ingredients are added.

  • In large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion and cook until the onion becomes transparent.
  • Then add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add tomatoes, chicken if you are going to use it, artichoke hearts, capers and cook until the tomatoes start to soften. They will start to get a little wrinkly about 5-8 minutes — take off the heat.
  • Add pasta and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and cilantro, chopped. Heat the whole mixture up until it’s all heated through and then take off the heat.
  • Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

You can serve this dish warm, room temperature, or I even prefer it the next day straight out of the refrigerator.

You can’t go wrong!! Makes 8-10 servings. You can even add some chopped romaine lettuce to the salad once it’s cooled and it makes a wonderful green/pasta salad.

*www.tatertotsandjello.com

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