This fresh pasta salad epitomises the Mediterranean way of living and eating, using only a few ingredients, but choosing those of the highest quality. Orzo translates from Italian to mean ‘barley’, due to the grain-like shape of this pasta variety, and we think it’s the perfect base for our summery salad. In this orzo pasta salad we add a medley of fresh summer vegetables, including asparagus and leccino olives - grown in Tuscany and well-regarded for their delicate flavour - all coated in our delicious basil pesto. Sometimes we serve our salad as above, tossing through a few tomatoes or spinach leaves as desired, though if we’re feeling a little more indulgent we like to add a little fresh octopus - polpo in Italian - or squid - calamaro - to this dish.
Make our delicious orzo pasta salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Calories per serving: 942kcal
- 250g orzo pasta
- 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 125g asparagus
- 100g leccino olives, pitted and halved
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 150ml basil pesto (make your own with our classic pesto recipe)
- 100g raw octopus or squid, cut into small pieces (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the orzo as per the instructions on the packet. When cooked, drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking and set to one side to cool.
- As the pasta cools, steam your asparagus over a pan of boiling water for about 5 minutes until tender. Let your cooked asparagus cool for a few minutes before chopping the stems into small pieces.
- If you’re making your pesto from scratch, now would be a good time to prepare it following our classic pesto recipe.
- When the orzo and asparagus have fully cooled, transfer them into a large bowl with the halved olives and the chopped celery too. Drizzle over the pesto and toss together so that all of the ingredients are coated in the pesto sauce.
- If you're using octopus or squid, gently fry the pieces for around 6 minutes in a small amount of olive oil.
- Add your octopus or squid to the salad, toss it one more time and add a little salt and pepper to taste. Buon appetito!