Last Look | Laura Kelso's Summer Orzo

This recipe is a riff on one of my favorite Nigella Lawson pasta dishes from her book "Forever Summer".

Every mouthful repays the effort of chopping that goes into this dish. It’s light, refreshing, and clean—perfect for summer!

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pitted black olives
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, drained and crumbled


  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, kosher salt, pepper, and sugar
  • Make orzo pasta (8 – 10 minutes), where tender but still firm to bite
  • Put pine nuts in skillet over medium low heat and toast on all sides for about 5 minutes
  • Drain orzo and add the dressing while pasta is hot
  • Let cool to room temperature, and mix in all other ingredients.

Dish can be made 6-8 hours ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!

Laura Kelso has long been a foodie at heart. After earning a philosophy degree at Brown, she hightailed it to Mexico City (andale!), where she worked on NAFTA negotiations by day, and learned about the art of la comida by night. Two years later, on a bread and butter diet in London (with a lot of memorable Indian food to boot), she received a master’s from the London School of Economics. Piggybacking on her corporate gigs, Laura traveled — and tasted — the world, from Hong Kong to Hamburg, Manila to Madrid. Her Austin food writing career blossomed in 2004, when she served as Austin Monthly’s food critic for four years. At the same time, she freelanced for the likes of Travel + Leisure and Southern Living. Laura went on to help co-found Austin-based Dishola, a website dedicated to sharing the love of food—dish by dish. But when the world's largest digital food brand, Allrecipes, came calling, she and her family moved to Seattle. As gorgeous (and toothsome) as the Pacific Northwest was, Kelso says she left "her heart and tastebuds in Austin." Two years after they'd moved west, a job offer from Whole Foods Market's mobile team tipped the scale back towards Texas.

Now that she's firmly ensconced back in Austin, Kelso happily spends hours shopping at local farmers' markets, cooking for family and friends, and sampling all of Austin's new eateries. She also burns the midnight oil, serving as an advisor to the exciting Austin/London-based startup, 1000Cookbooks.com.


Photography by Leah Overstreet

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