well, i took a picture of this, but it doesn't look very appetizing, so i'm choosing to post this sans photo...
this is a really simple dish featuring some of my favorite things, including my go-to vinaigrette (which is really a vinaigrette by the late, great gourmet magazine). it's fast, easy, and uses a lot of pantry items you may already have on hand. it would be great for dinners or for a picnic as it would do well at room temperature.
1 box orzo, cooked per package instructions to al dente
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 artichoke hearts (packed in water), diced
8 large black olives sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 package feta cheese
1/4 cup banana peppers, diced
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed and finely minced (or pushed through a press)
1 heaping tablespoon of coarse ground dijon mustard
just over 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
i know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but don't be intimidated. put the pasta on to boil.
while the pasta is cooking, dice the artichoke hearts, slice the olives, cut the tomatoes, and dice the banana peppers. heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat and add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and olives. stir occasionally...you want them to warm through and the tomatoes to kind of fall apart, as the tomatoes give out some of their sweet liquid, the artichoke hearts will begin to caramelize, which is perfect. once this happens, turn off the heat.
at this point, your orzo should be cooked and drained. add it to the pan with the vegetables, add in the banana peppers and cheese and set aside.
to make the vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and sugar in a small bowl then whisk together. slowly drizzle in the olive oil - while whisking - until it's the consistency and flavor you'd like (i prefer more vinegar to oil, but everyone is different). the mustard will emulsify this, so you won't need to whisk again.
drizzle this over the pasta and stir through. serve hot or let it come to room temperature and serve. enjoy!
notes: this dish is easy and delicious. the dressing is so versatile...i'll have to give more options for this in the near future, maybe i can do a whole post on dressing variations ala mark bittman. :)