1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (I often use more)
1 tsp. dried basil (I use much more)
2 T. olive oil (divided)
1/2 C. white wine
1 large can petite diced tomatoes (28 to 32 oz)
1 tsp. salt (optional)
1 1/2 to 2 lbs diced cooked chicken
1 lb. orzo pasta
1/2 C. black olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
1 to 1 1/2 C. crumbled feta (to taste)

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Cook onion, garlic and basil in 1 Tbsp oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until onion is softened (about 3 minutes – but I usually do them longer). Add wine and boil until reduced by half (about 3 minutes). Stir in tomatoes and salt, then reduce heat and simmer briskly, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 8-10 minutes).
  3. While sauce is being prepared, cook orzo to al dente (don’t overcook, as it will become mush in the sauce). Reserve 1/2 C. of pasta cooking water and then drain orzo. Return orzo to pot and toss with remaining 1 Tbsp of oil. Stir in sauce and chicken, then reserved cooking water (note: I generally don’t add much of the water (if it looks dry, I add just a bit of it), then add olives, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon into an oiled 13 x 9 baking dish, then sprinkle with feta. Bake uncovered in middle of oven until cheese is slightly melted and pasta is heated through (approx 15 minutes).Note: Makes excellent left-overs (just microwave). Can be made a day ahead for a dinner party (it actually tastes better on day 2, in my opinion!)

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