Sicilian Orzo Salad

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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Kosher salt

12 ounces orzo

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced, plus 1/2 cup roughly chopped leaves

3 tablespoons pine nuts

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 cup roughly chopped pitted black olives, such as kalamata

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley or mint (or a combination)

1 3.75-ounce can oil-packed sardines or one 5-ounce can oil-packed tuna (preferably Italian), drained and flaked

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup grated ricotta salata cheese (2 ounces)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook as the label directs, adding the celery slices during the last 2 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain. Set aside. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the olives and red pepper flakes; stir to combine. Stir in the orzo and celery slices along with 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring, until the water is mostly absorbed and the pasta is coated, adding more pasta cooking water if needed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the celery leaves, herbs and sardines; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and top with the toasted pine nuts and cheese.