I have shared this salad many times with the teachers at my school. They enjoy it so much that they ask me to bring it in. It's best to put the tomatoes on the salad just before serving so they won't wilt from the heat and moisture. In my opinion, the dish would not be as delectable if you substitute another vinegar for the balsamic vinegar.—Kate Whitehead, Lindenhurst, Illinois
VERIFIED BY Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1 package (16 ounces) orzo pasta
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 packages (6 ounces each) fresh baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups (8 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the pine nuts, garlic, basil and pepper flakes in oil and butter just until nuts are lightly browned.
- Add the spinach, salt and pepper; cook and stir 4-5 minutes longer or just until spinach is wilted. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Drain pasta. Stir into spinach mixture. Drizzle with vinegar; sprinkle with cheese and tomato. Yield: 12 servings (3/4 cup each).
Originally published as Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts in Taste of Home Winning Recipes 3 2012, p38