I mentioned in this column last week that my husband and I enjoyed some grilled chicken cutlets that had been marinated in the same vinaigrette we used to dress our green salad.

What I didn't say was that we also had a delicious new side to go along with that spring meal — orzo cooked with lemon and feta.

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Orzo is a small pasta, just a bit larger than a grain of rice before it's cooked. We've found it's really versatile and a nice change from spaghetti or tubular pasta like penne.

It's especially good with lemon — in this case lemon zest and lemon juice — but I'm not sure I've ever had it with feta cheese.

Feta is like goat cheese — you either love it or you don't. We don't care for goat cheese, but we really like feta. If you're not familiar with feta, it's a salty cheese that's typically crumbled on a Greek salad.

This orzo dish was perfect with the chicken and green salad — light and springy. We served it hot with that meal, but the next day I had some leftover at room temperature, and it was equally as good.


Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup orzo

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the orzo. Return the water to a boil and simmer uncovered for 9 to 11 minutes, until the orzo is al dente. Drain.

Transfer orzo to a bowl and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Fold in the feta. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

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