Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Orzo Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

 The October League meeting had delicious salads but this one was a favorite. The recipe is found on page 159 of Tastes & Treasures cookbook.

Sally Schaefer, in the white jacket, created the festive fall centerpiece to get us into the mood for goblins and ghosts. Carolina Lopez and her guest are assistants in arranging the beautiful display.

Orzo Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives page 159

Ingredients Dijon Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Ingredients for Salad:
1 pound asparagus, blanched
16 ounces orzo
1/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup drained oil-pack sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions for the Vinaigrette:
Whisk the lemon juice, shallot, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl until combined. Add the olive oil gradually, whisking constantly until the olive oil is incorporated.

Directions for the Salad:
    Slice the asparagus spears diagonally into 1 inch pieces. Cook the pasta using the package directions until al dente and drain. Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a bowl and cool to room temperature. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the shallots and garlic. Sute for 5 minutes. Toss the mushroom mixture with the pasta.
    Add the asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions, feta cheese, mint, Parmesan cheese, olives and basil to the pasta mixture and mix gently. Add the vinaigrette and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Garnish with teardrop or pear tomatoes and sprigs of Italian parsley. Serve at room temperature. You may prepare up to 1 day in advance and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serves 8 or more.