I found myself attending the usual amount of holiday parties this season, but this year the need for taking a dish to add to the event was in order. My favorite ingredients play a role in this dish: orzo pasta, spinach, Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes. I looked online for a similar salad that is served at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and this is my adaptation. Serves a hungry crowd: 12-14 for a side dish or 8-10 main dish.
1 fresh bunch spinach, about 10oz, cleaned & de-stemmed, cut julienne
1 small radicchio, cut julienne
1 tablespoon quality olive oil
1 lb. box Barilla orzo pasta, cooked al dente & drained
¾ cup Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes in oil & herbs, julienne cut
1/3 cup non-pareil imported capers, drained
I cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
Juice from one large or two small fresh lemons
½ cup quality olive oil
Grated lemon rind from the lemon, about 1-2 tablespoons (you decide)
Fresh ground pepper
Now, this is where you can play with this ingredient. I use one of two different cheeses; it just depends on my mood. Either 2 heaping cups of crumbled feta cheese or 2 heaping cups of shredded Pecorino cheese.
Julienne spinach and radicchio and set aside. I take 5-6 spinach leaves and arrange on top of each other. At the stem end, roll tightly. Take a sharp knife and slice the roll, resulted in beautifully cut strips! In a large bowl, combine sun dried tomatoes, capers & olives. Once pasta is done and drained, add to bowl and mix well. Set aside. In a large sauté pan, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil & 1 tablespoon of the fresh lemon juice. Heat, then add the spinach and radicchio; cook until just wilted. Add to the bowl and toss. Add the cheese, toss well. I wish I had a photo to post, but there is no remaining salad each time I make it!