I have always considered myself a pretty decent cook. But lately with the aid of several cooking blogs I have made some incredible food. I cant take credit for the recipes and I am merely following their directions but there is something really satisfying about making a dish that tastes like something you would pay for in a restaurant or that I could serve to other people and have them be impressed. I have really upped my game in the past 2 weeks. Tonight's meal is no exception. I can not believe how happy it makes me that I can make this salad anytime I want and don't have to pay for it in a restaurant or deli. Its really the little things in life that make me happy and this salad makes me HAPPY!!!
borrowed from Cooking This and That taken from Giada De Laurentiis
Makes 6-8 servings ****I halved the recipe for a side dish for 2 people with 2 more big servings leftover.****as is would A LOT of pasta
1 pound orzo pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup **I only used 3 tbsp. total to drizzle-none other added after that and it was plenty of oil**
2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
3/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese (or feta cheese)
1/2 cup dried cherries **I used dried cranberries**
12 fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet covered in foil to make the clean-up really easy. ***This step makes all the difference. I had no idea that this is how you prevent orzo from turning into a giant lump of mush***
- Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.
I don't always ask my Chief Taste Tester what he thinks to see if he will mention anything about dinner (since he has been working very hard and we don't eat together). I waited tonight and then he said it was "delicious". I don't even know how else to describe this salad. I cant wait to eat the leftovers if that means anything. It would be so great with some grilled chicken thrown in too. I just made it as a side dish for some chicken cutlets and it was definitely the star of the dish. I normally wouldn't have opted to make something from Giada because I kind of find her annoying but I am totally rethinking my bias against her and am going to see what other yummy dishes she has in her kitchen. Make this salad and bring it to someones house and you will be hailed a genius---