The roasted garlic dressing makes this salad over the top delicious! I used orzo pasta that was pretty tiny, just be sure that you have a colander that the pasta won’t go through when draining. Always reserve a good amount of pasta water for moisture if needed. This is especially important if making pasta salads ahead of time. Pasta tends to soak up excess moisture sometimes leaving the pasta a bit dry. Simply pour small amounts of the pasta water into the salad and mix well until you get a moist consistency. Pasta water is much more “waistline” friendly than extra oil.
We’ll start with the dressing…..
Into a small sauce pan, add 3/4 cup of olive oil and 6 large cloves of garlic cut in half or smaller so that the olive oil covers them. Place over very low heat and watch carefully. Cook only until the garlic is slightly browned and soft, about 35-45 minutes. Pour the cooked garlic/oil right into the blender. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar and blend. Place in refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Reserve a couple of cups of pasta water. Be sure to refrigerate the pasta water. Drain, rinse, and drain well. Place the pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Add the halved kalamata olives, halved grape tomatoes, feta, fresh basil, and the dressing to the orzo. Mix well.
Season with a couple of pinches of kosher salt, a pinch of black pepper, and a tablespoon of dried oregano. Mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
¼ cup red wine vinegar
6 large cloves fresh garlic halved
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup kalamata olives, halved
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
1 large bunch fresh basil, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 pinches kosher salt or to taste
1 pinch black pepper or to taste
2) Cook the pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve a couple of cups of water. Drain pasta and rinse. Drain well. Add to large mixing bowl.
3) Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
*If you’re serving the pasta after refrigeration, add pasta water a small amount at a time to moisten.