Orzo Salad With Peppers and Feta

Orzo Salad With Peppers and Feta

Piperade, a classic Basque dish of stewed peppers, onions and tomatoes, becomes a flavorful sauce for this pasta. Colorful bell peppers simmer in olive oil and aromatics until meltingly soft, and juicy tomatoes simmer alongside until they burst, lending both tangy and sweet notes. Briny feta adds salty bites to complement the sweet pepper sauce, but tart aged goat cheese makes a good alternative. This side is even better at room temperature, making it the perfect make-ahead dish for summer picnics or potlucks.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Cook orzo in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta, pressing out excess liquid. Spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, bell peppers and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until broken down and juices release, about 8 minutes.
  3. Step 3

    Add the reserved pasta water and stir to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the skillet. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl to cool slightly to lukewarm, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to speed up the cooling process. Discard thyme sprig.
  4. Step 4

    Add cooled orzo, lemon juice, basil and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well, then transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Garnish with more basil.