Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad Guaranteed to Please

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Don't laugh - you know you love a good picnic.

It doesn't have to be cheesy and romantic, although that's nice, too. But there's just something fun about turning dinner into an adventure. And if you're sick of eating in front of the TV (my biggest pet peeve) then a picnic's the perfect cure.

And now---what to serve:
If you're budget-strapped, like me, you might not want to swing a fancy cheese plate. So the next-best thing is a good pasta salad. But obviously, you want to make it interesting enough so it doesn't get redundant. Don't worry, it's easy.

And bonus: You don't have to turn on the oven!

I decided to change it up a bit and use orzo, the tricky, rice-shaped pasta for a change of pace. And since orzo is Greek, I went with a Mediterranean theme. Here's what I threw in:

Salad

1/2 box of orzo pasta cooked
1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 can of chopped black olives
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 block of feta cheese, crumbled
8 oz. of chopped prosciutto ham
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil

Dressing
I just eye-balled the dressing but combined a good-quality extra virgin olive oil with juice from half a lemon and rice-wine vinegar, which is lighter and won't overpower your dressing. First, beat those together so they emulsify and then, add salt and pepper. I also added a touch of juice from a jar of peperoncini that I had in the fridge, but it's not necessary.

Toss together and pack for your picnic.

A great 5-step guide for improvising pasta salad can be found at Allrecipes.
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