Spring is here, and it’s the perfect time to infuse your table with the tastes of the Mediterranean. There is nothing more Mediterranean, than fresh, sunny, coastal flavors. Simplicity paired with quality ingredients is the centerpiece of this tasty combination of orzo tossed with tuna, artichokes, sweet pointed red pepper, capers and herbs in a lemon and anchovy dressing. This is a SUPER delicious dish brimming with flavor! It makes for a perfectly, light mid-week dinner, an even more perfect impromptu lunch from the tasty leftovers, or as a delightful side for serving at your next barbecue.
I rediscovered orzo last year during our escape to Greece. In Greek supermarkets this treasured pasta, which resembles a large grain of rice (called “kritharaki”), can be found in a number of different forms – just as we find rice here — long cut, short cut, thick cut, whole wheat, the list goes on – and half a supermarket aisle long.
I love it for its versatility and compatibility, it’s definitely something I should use more often as it’s a terrific counterpart to the fluffy rice, plus its…well…simply said: cute and delicious. Whether used to make a “faux” risotto, in a salad, soup or casserole, it’s perfect served hot and or at room temperature and works wonderfully with bold flavors. It enhances anything it’s are paired with and yet it is strong enough to stand alone as a perfect side dish, making the options endless.
In Germany you can find these “Reisnudeln” under the name risona if not orzo.
Mediterranean Orzo with Tuna, Artichokes, Parsley and Mint
For the salad:
2 cups orzo (340 g)
1 x jar or can (190-200 g) sustainable albacore tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked
150 g marinated artichoke hearts, (preferably fresh from a delicatessen, roasted or marinated in herbs — alternatively, marinaded from a glass) drained and chopped
1 sweet pointed red pepper, chopped
1 medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoon fresh finely chopped mint
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
large handful roughly chopped arugula, to serve
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 anchovies, chopped
1. Fill a large pot with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and add pasta. Cook according to packet instructions, until al dente, drain and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until well combined.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the orzo, tuna, artichoke hearts, red pepper, capers, onion, parsley and mint.
4. Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with fresh arugula.
5. Tip: For a portable snack, pack into a small serving container and refrigerate.