Orzo Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Black Olives and Ricotta Salata

Orzo Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Black Olives and Ricotta Salata

A year round salad with a great presentation, this pasta recipe can be made in advance and is best served at room temperature. I prefer black olives but feel free to try a different type.  Ricotta salata is a sheep’s milk cheese and has nothing to do with ricotta cheese as we know it.  Ricotta means “recooked” and salata is “salted” and ricotta salata has a firm, spongy texture and is perfect for shredding, crumbling and tossing.  Similar to a feta cheese, but with a lighter taste and less salty, which can be used if you can’t find ricotta salata in your market. To print this recipe as a PDF, click here.

 

Ingredients

½ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. Lemon extra virgin olive oil
¼ c. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. salt
3 grinds of pepper mill
1 lb. orzo
¾ c. Manestrini Pitted Black Olives or Kalamata olives, sliced
1 c. roasted red peppers, cut in ½” pieces
5 oz. ricotta salata or feta cheese
2 T. chopped fresh oregano


Begin by cooking orzo according to the package directions. While orzo is cooking, make the vinaigrette by whisking together both oils, vinegar, salt & pepper in a small bowl.  Drain  orzo and place in large bowl.  Allow orzo to cool a couple of minutes then pour ½ of the vinaigrette on the orzo and toss gently, so the orzo doesn’t stick together.  When orzo has cooled a bit (about 20 -30 minutes which is important because otherwise the cheese will melt and the oregano will lose it’s pretty green color) add the remaining vinaigrette, olives, red pepper, ricotta salata and oregano and toss gently. Serve. Serves 8-14.