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Chicken & Orzo Salad

In the past, if you wanted to serve pesto, you had to make it from scratch. Now it is available in plastic containers in the refrigerated section of many markets. Avoid the pesto sold in glass jars on store shelves, as the fresh basil flavor is lost.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup pesto
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. orzo pasta
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 oz. baby spinach

Directions:

Make the vinaigrette
In a large bowl, whisk together the pesto, vinegar, the 1/4 tsp. salt and the pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until smooth.

Cook the orzo
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the orzo. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse under cold running water and drain again. Add the orzo to the vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly.

Assemble the salad
Add the chicken, tomatoes and spinach to the orzo and toss gently to combine, then serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Salad, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).