Wednesday, September 05, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Florentine Salad
adapted from Romano's Macaroni Grill
Serves 4 to 6

Did you ever order this salad at Macaroni Grill long ago when it was on their menu? I did and I loved it! A friend’s mother-in-law saw the recipe printed in a magazine and sent it to her, and she shared it with me. I will tell you that this is definitely more than just a salad. It’s one of my favorite dinners, and in my circle of friends it’s a frequently-requested meal when we have “girls night in” together. You can make a basic vinaigrette dressing to top this (I make one with lemon juice and garlic), or a purchased champagne vinaigrette goes really nicely on it as well. I don't add the dressing until I'm ready to serve. This can easily be adapted to be vegetarian by leaving out the chicken, and it's still a bold and hearty meal. Enjoy!

8 oz. orzo pasta, cooked
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches of baby spinach, chopped
1/2 head of arugula, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 oz. parmesan cheese, shaved
salt and pepper to taste
optional: chopped red onion

Prepare pasta according to package directions. When done, drain and place in a bowl. Toss with the olive oil so it doesn't stick. Set aside and allow to cool completely. 

In a large bowl, toss together the remaining ingredients except for the cheese and dressing. The tomatoes should be in a half-inch dice, and the greens should be chopped to a similar size. Toss the cooled pasta with the vegetable mixture. Add the dressing and toss again. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Top each serving with shaved parmesan cheese. 

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Julie Campbell said...

This was really tasty. Everyone loved it. Thanks!

SLO Classical Academy said...

So glad! You never know what people will like, but this one is almost foolproof. Thanks for the comment, Julie. :)