Spinach and Pasta Salad

No wine in this one, tastes great paired with Pinot Grigio – any of the Morovino PGs!

1 lb of your favorite small pasta (I like Orzo or mini Farfalle)
2 lbs tomatoes from your garden or Farmer’s Market
½ bag baby spinach leaves—or go crazy and use the whole bag
leaves from 4 sprigs of basil
¼ C. REALLY good fruity olive oil (always use the best olive oil you can afford for dishes like this.  If you are cooking with it–applying heat–you can use a lesser quality)
1 6-ounce package of feta cheese, crumbled
2 large cloves of garlic—finely diced, grated on the microplane or squished in garlic press
3 green onions, chopped
zest from ½ lemon

Cook pasta according to package directions. While cooking, dice tomatoes and put in bottom of large bowl. If you can’t get tomatoes from your garden or farmer’s market, use the sweet grape tomatoes (cut in half) from Costco or grocery store as the best non-h0me-grown option. Regular sized tomatoes from the grocery store just won’t cut it (promise me you won’t even try). Chop the green onions and put them on top of the tomatoes on the bowl (the order of ingredients in the bowl is important).

Chiffonade the spinach leaves and put them in the bowl (ooohhh, fancy word). Chiffonade is basically taking a handful of leaves and making a “cigar” out of them by rolling them all up together. Then cut lengthwise across the leaves into tiny strips. Don’t worry about how they look, this isn’t Top  Chef and no one is grading you! Chiffonade the basil and add it to the bowl. Don’t want to try a Chiffonade? Just chop the basil really finely or use your food processor. Zest the lemon and put it on top of the basil in the bowl. Add the cooked, drained pasta on top of the veggies (it should still be warm) and leave  it there for a minute or so. It is wilting the spinach and basil and warming the tomatoes. Add the olive oil, feta and salt and pepper to taste, then gently toss. A great summer main course or yummy as a pasta salad. Still good the next day, too.

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