If you are going to only use one pasta salad recipe this summer, it should this Mediterranean-inspired orzo salad. It is easy, delicious, and feeds a crowd. The original recipe is from PopSugar and though I still have no idea how I made it onto the email list for their newsletter, I'm glad that this recipe found its way into my inbox. I have simplified the recipe somewhat, removing the olives (of which I am decidedly NOT a fan) and sun-dried tomatoes, and by using a pre-made red wine vinaigrette (if you do prefer a homemade dressing, I suggest using a different recipe since the PopSugar one is overly heavy on the vinegar). My version requires only five items from Trader Joe's: orzo, grape tomatoes, basil, red wine vinaigrette, and feta cheese that comes pre-seasoned with Mediterranean herbs. (If you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, the seasonings in the feta cheese include sundried tomato, oregano, garlic, and basil.)
Prepare the orzo (1 lb) according to the instructions on the bag. After it has finished cooking, pour it into a large bowl and mix together with the red wine vinaigrette (8 fl oz). (The liquid will absorb into the orzo for flavorful pasta.) Cut the tomatoes (1 lb) into the halves or quarters and add to the orzo and vinaigrette mixture. Chop about fifteen leaves of fresh basil and add to the bowl. Stir until everything is thoroughly mixed. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put the bowl in the fridge for a couple hours, until the vinaigrette is absorbed. When you are ready to serve (or if you are bringing it to a party, before you leave home), mix in the feta cheese (6 oz). Then enjoy! This pasta salad is easy to assemble, full of flavor, and perfect for a hot summer day which means that you will find yourself reaching for the recipe time and again this summer.