Thursday, August 29, 2013

Portillo's Chopped Salad

 This was an excellent salad!  I never had a salad at Portillo's--an Italian Beef place in the Chicago area.  We all liked this and will make it again.  The pasta was supposed to be bigger, but I used what I had on hand.  It was good the next day---with extra dressing.  I would follow the tip and put the dressing on the pasta first.
Portillo's Chopped Salad

Yield: 10 servings

4 cups cooked Ditalini pasta Beth used acini de pepe pasta
1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
2-1/2 cups chopped red cabbage
2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup sliced green onions
4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese (about 1 cup) Beth omitted
Sweet Italian Dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Cook Ditalini pasta according to package instructions. Make sure you salt the pasta water while cooking to give it some flavor. Drain and cool. Set aside.

Cook bacon in a skillet until done. Let bacon cool, then crumble it.

Combine romaine, iceberg, red cabbage, tomatoes and green onions in large salad bowl.

Add cooled pasta, bacon and gorgonzola cheese to salad.

Add dressing to taste right before serving so that it doesn't get soggy.

For the Dressing: Place vinegar, garlic, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the blender top or feed tube until dressing is combined and emulsified. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Another tip: If you make the dressing ahead of time and add a little bit to the cooled pasta and let it soak it up in the fridge for some time it adds a whole lot of flavor.

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