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Spinach Orzo Pasta

Tired of the same old pasta salad at the picnic table? Try this easy, yet sophisticated take instead. It can be served warm or at room temperature. (Soy free, can be dairy-lactose-casein free and nut free)

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

8 oz orzo pasta

1 (14.5 oz) can vegetable or chicken broth

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T butter (optional)

1⁄2 tsp garlic, minced

1⁄2 tsp dried basil

1⁄4 tsp crushed red pepper

3⁄4 cup pine nuts

10 oz baby spinach

2 T aged balsamic vinegar

4 oz crumbled feta cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese

2 fresh Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

Directions:

In a large sauté pan, sauté the garlic, basil, and crushed red pepper in the olive oil and (optional) butter. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pine nuts (optional). Lightly toast the pine nuts in the pan until they are light brown in color and fragrant. Add the baby spinach, and let it wilt.

In a large saucepan, combine the can of broth with equal parts water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the box directions, or until al dente. Drain the pasta. Then toss the spinach mixture with the pasta. Sprinkle with the balsamic vinegar and toss again.

When serving, top with cheese and tomatoes. To make it dairy- lactose-casein free, substitute Daiya mozzarella shreds for the feta or mozzarella.

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