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Orzo Salad with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Creamy Basil Dressing
INGREDIENTS - SALAD
- 10 ounces orzo pasta
- 2 pints or 4 cups cherry tomatoes - cut in half
- 4 garlic cloves - quartered
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup oil cured olives - roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh basil - chopped
- 1 cup ricotta salata - grated or feta - crumbled
INGREDIENTS - DRESSING
- 1 avocado - peeled and pitted
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small shallot
- 1 T lemon juice
- 2 T white balsamic or white wine vinegar
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toss tomato halves and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on parchment lined sheet pan cut side facing up. Bake for 45-55 minutes until they are slightly shriveled and caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool.
While tomatoes are cooking, cook orzo pasta according to directions on package, rinse with cold water and let cool in a large glass bowl. Toss with 1 T of olive oil. Meanwhile prepare the dressing.
Make basil dressing by placing all ingredients except olive oil in the blender - while running gradually pour in olive oil. The dressing will be thick. Taste and adjust if needed. Place in a jar and set aside. Prepare remaining ingredients - pine nuts, olives, and fresh basil.
To prepare the salad, toss the olives, pine nuts, fresh basil and cheese with the pasta. Add the basil dressing and toss well. Add the tomatoes and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.