1 lb. orzo pasta, 1 romaine lettuce heart, 1/4 cup chopped purple onion, 3 ripe tomatoes, diced, 10 green olives, pitted and sliced, 1/4 cup sunflower oil or light olive oil, 1/2 cucumber, diced, 1/2 lemon, juiced, 2 tablespoons light mayo, 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled, salt and pepper to taste.
1. Boil the orzo pasta according to package instructions, strain it, spread it thinly in a hotel pan or a tray and mix it with the oil. Let it cool down and then refridgerate for at least 30 minutes for the orzo to get cold. The oil serves two purposes – it’s part of the dressing, and it prevents the orzo from sticking together.
2. Cut the other ingredients and mix everything together with the cold orzo.
I love the texture of the orzo pasta salad compared to say penne, macaroni or fusilli pasta salad. It’s also more compact and presentable.
Cooking tip: You can give the orzo pasta some extra flavor by putting a few cubes of vegetable stock in the boiling water.
2 pounds of potato gnocchi, 4 oz sliced and chopped pancetta, 2 garlic cloves, chopped, 1 shallot, chopped, 1 cup snap peas, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup pasta sauce, 1/2 cup 18% cream, 1 heaping tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
1. Saute the garlic and shallot with the olive oil in a large heavy pan for 2 minutes.
2. Add the pancetta and snap peas and saute for 5 minutes more.
3. Add the pasta sauce and the cream and cook at medium heat for 5 minutes or until the desired consistency is achieved.
4. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
5. In the meantime, boil the gnocchi according the package instructions in a large saucepan with at least 4 liters of water. I usually boil them for about 3-4 minutes, or 1 minute after they all swim up to the surface of the water.
6. Strain the gnocchi with a colander and immediately toss them in the sauce. Serve and enjoy.
Cooking tip: I like my snap peas to have a little crunch, but if you like them softer you can blanch them before adding them to the frying pan.
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