Category: Italian

Pulled Pork & Orzo Italian Salad With roasted garlic

Pulled Pork & Orzo Italian Salad

Published in Carolina Country Magazine May 2020

Creations like this one is why I sometimes feel like the Queen of Throw Cooking!  Because that is just how this tasty salad came to be.

Each year, on the 2nd Sunday in September,  Dinner in the Meadow is held in Franklin County outside Louisburg, NC. Held atop a grassy knoll in the meadow of Meadow Lane Farm, this dinner supports a grant for the chosen applicant of that year’s small farm fund grant.  For many years, I have been a part of the dinner, handling marketing and social media. Most years, I throw together lunch for all the volunteer set up crew and that is how this dish came about.

Friend and farm owner Martha Mobley owns this NC Century Farm where she grows all sorts of organic produce and flowers… and raises all sorts of farm animals, mostly sheep and cows.  Although a full time extension agent in Franklin County, you can find her selling her farm goodness every Saturday at the Durham Farmers’ Market.  She gives me some goodies to work with for the volunteer lunch, so I had the best pork butts you can have to make this salad.

When she gave them to me, freezer to freezer, I had no idea what I’d do with them.  I figured I would probably just make some pulled pork sandwiches… but when time came around, I dug around my pantry to see what else I could throw together instead!  I found some orzo… sun dried tomatoes… some toasted pine nuts… and my head started getting all giddy as I had this vision!  TaDa.
Pork and orzo salad!

That day, Martha said it was the best food she’d ever had and wanted me to make her more.  It took me a while but I did.  I also wanted to put on paper out of my head so I could share with others.  Thus, here came to be, that recipe, on paper, for Carolina Country Magazine customers and anybody else that wants it!  It’s has become one of my favorites too… and I hope you will give it a try as well. It takes just a little forethought to cook the pork, pasta and roasted garlic, but you can then make and enjoy this salad for days. I even froze some to see how it would hold up… and it was just as tasty! 

I do hope you will throw together this salad too.  And if you do, snap a picture and share over on my fun facebook page!  Enjoy y’all…

Pulled Pork and Orzo Italian Salad

 

 

Pulled Pork & Orzo Italian Salad with roasted garlic!

For those who love pasta salads and Italian food, it doesn't get much better! This will feed a crowd, but easy to cut in half... everybody will love it, so make a bunch! Freezes too...

Course: Main Course, Salad, Supper
Cuisine: Italian, Southern
Keyword: Italian, orzo, pasta salad,, pork, pulled pork
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 5-6 lbs. pork butt, cooked, shredded and chopped (cook ahead in crockpot)
  • 1 16 ounce box orzo, cooked per package directions
  • 1 8,5 ounce jar julienned sun dried tomatoes with oil, undrained
  • 1 3.5 ounce capers, drained
  • 1 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (We used Mt. Olive.)
  • 1 cup white raisins
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 6 ounce bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 heads roasted garlic
  • 1 cup oil*
Instructions
  1. Cook pork and roast garlic to have ready for assembling salad. For pork, I simply cook in crock pot until fork tender. Remove from drippings when done, shred with fork and cut up big pieces with scissors to bite size.

  2. To roast garlic: *Cut tops from 4 heads of garlic. Place in small baking dish. Pour oil over garlic. Roast at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool and squeeze cloves into salad, along with the oil.

  3. To make salad: Fold pork into orzo. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until well blended. Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve later. Best if removed from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Note: The orzo can be cooked 1–2 days ahead. Cook al dente, and toss with 2 tablespoons oil. Refrigerate in airtight container until ready to make salad.

 

 

Pizza Bread Bowl Fondue

Bread Bowl Pizza Fondue

Fondue… bread bowl pizza fondue! Try these fun ways to enjoy a simple supper or for a crowd at your next gathering. Get creative with fondue and dippers… here are a couple of favorites. Which do you like? Bread Bowl Pepperoni or Hawaiian Pizza Fondue?

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Wendy’s Spaghetti Sauce… finally on “paper!”

“The BEST spaghetti sauce!” That’s what my family and friends call this… make several gallons at the time to eat anytime! Great to “gift” and especially appreciated “funeral food” when grieving folks have been giving away all the boxes of fried chicken dropped off! Maybe I should rename it to Funeral Spaghetti! Just make some…

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Spaghetti Grilled Cheese Sandwich in Cheese Puddle

Sometimes you’ve just gotta carb out… and if you’re not up to that, then you need to check on out now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE:  Wendy’s Spaghetti & “meatballs” Sauce recipe is here! It was published in January Carolina Country since this original post as mentioned below.
Wendy’s Spaghetti Sauce… finally on “paper!”

I apologize up front for this horrific picture! Was done inside my tiny camper on a dark rainy day with the worst light ever!
Remake due… 

I’d say spaghetti, preferably mine, ranks in my Top 5 fave foods. I can eat it cold, hot… and anywhere in-between. I’ve been known to open the fridge and grab a pinch with my fingers in the middle of the night when I wake up and my belly is growling on the way to pee!  Nope, not gonna grab a fork while sleep walking. I can’t sleep as it is, so by the time I’d do all that, might as well just be up for the rest of the night and next day.

Spaghetti for breakfast? Sign me up.  Spaghetti sauce on garlic bread minus the pasta?  For sure!  I’m just a sketti love’n gal, period.  BUT… I only want angel hair… I don’t take much of a like’n to fat pasta… as my daddy called it “doughty” ~ and I love lasagna, but I pick around those big fat wads of noodles to eat the good stuff! When I’m finished with lasagna, you can count on a blob of “cleaned” noodles over to the side. 

One of the publications I write recipes for keeps asking, “why haven’t we published your spaghetti yet?”  Well, if I can make it all fit in a 200 word count recipe (that’s my limit!), by gosh by golly it will be in the January issue.  Because it’s a cold Saturday or Sunday kinda thing to do.  Not to mention my recipe makes ‘tween 2 and 3 gallons at the time. But hey… who makes ONE meal of spaghetti?  That’s just silly. Especially for a gal who’d as soon eat that as a piece of burnt-end pork belly.
Well, ummm… that’s a close tie!

So I’m gonna have to make a batch and actually write it down, because magazines don’t take too kindly to recipes that say…
“cook a few lbs. of x, then add some (insert seasonings here) until it tastes right.”  This throw cook’n girl has a real “challenge” putting what’s in my head (and pot) on paper so others who say “OH I WANT THAT RECIPE” can have one and make it too.  

So back to this spaghetti recipe.
Another lifetime ago when I managed the kitchen in a division hospital of WakeMed in my little town of Zebulon, I had a spaghetti eat’n friend. (We also had in common the love of Campbell’s Vegetable Beef Soup right out of the can or on bread.)  Tami would bring spaghetti from home and sit in our little staff dining room and make spaghetti sandwiches. I’m thinking… “that’s genius!”  Never then did the thought cross my mind to turn her masterpiece into a Spaghetti Grilled Cheese Sandwich. This revelation didn’t come to me until years later.  I don’t know why I’ve never thought to put it “on paper”  (duh! like so many others) and share until today. I have phases of “cheese need” and have had “the need” this week. And had some delicious cheese bread they make at my local Lowe’s Grocery Store… Andddddd, I had taken some of my sauce out of the freezer. (When you make gallons at the time, that’s a perk you can do any old time!)  

Funeral Food Note:  When somebody passes and I need to take some funeral food… guess what I take?  Yep, spaghetti! Because I have a freezer full… and folks bow at my feet… because it’s not a box of fried chicken and biscuits they can’t possibly eat any more of and give to somebody else to take home! 

So I’m look’n at that cheese bread think’n…. “self, I bet that bread right there would make one fine spaghetti grilled cheese sandwich!”

So I throw some water in a pot and got my handful of angel hair cook’n while I heated some sauce. When done, I drained the pasta and stirred the sauce right into it… my cast iron fave-most-used-kitchen-tool went on the burner.  I keep some roasted garlic oil made (one of these days I will post how to do that but for now, it’s on my facebook page several times)
so I just brushed both sides of the cheese bread with that… put one piece in the med-hot skillet… shredded cheddar…sketti…more cheddar… then top bread!  When it was toasty on the first side, I just flipped it over and when about half toasted on the other side, I scattered more grated cheese on and around the sandwich… to make the “puddle.” Ta.Da.
Spaghetti Grilled Cheese Sandwich in Cheese Puddle!
Tip: Let some get a little “almost burned” around the edges, because that is bonus cheese!

Now you might wonder what all that stuff is sprinkled on my sammich.  You can make this delicious concoction without it, but I’m a rabid fan of Savory Spice Shop’s “Brooklyn Everything Bagel Bread Topping.”  You know, like is on those yummy “everything bagels?”  If you have a Savory near you, SHOP THERE!  If not, order online. It’s a cook’s toy store. You can buy little bits or a boatload of things… they have lots of great salt free blends for folks that don’t need more of that… and all sorts of stuff. You’ve just never seen anything like it, and if you go to the Raleigh store, you tell Cindy and the crew I sent you.  So THAT is what you see scattered all over my sandwich… because that’s stuff is sooooo gooood on near’bout everything! 

My parting words… this is a pretty hardy sandwich, so you might want to share one… or, you might not!  Just get to grill’n.  Use whatever bread you like… something like a good sourdough will get nice and crunchy. I love crunchy.  Mix and match or change the cheese. Fix it like y.o.u. like it.
You know you want one now don’t you?
When you break down into carboliciousness, please do come back here and share your “experience” and send me a picture… better yet, go post it on my Wendy’s Home Economics! Facebook Page.  

 

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Throw together this no-cook chicken salad in no time for a tasty meal on a hot summer’s day.

Well here we are, in the dog days of summer!  In my neck of the woods, it’s been the monsoon days of summer. Rain! RaiN! RAIN!  But hopefully, we have a little break in sight for that and can now “look forward” to good old hot.humid.days.of.August!  And who wants to turn on anything that will add to that heat?  Ummmm, nobody.  This recipe for Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes was first published last summer in Carolina Country Magazine and a frequent go-to for me.  We all love to grab a cooked rotisserie chicken now and then… we can do so many things with one… not to mention throwing the skin and bones into the crock pot overnight after pick’n for the BEST flavorful chicken broth. You DO do that don’t you?  Oh there’s so much flavor in those bones and skin (if you don’t eat it) and all you have to do is cover with a quart or two of water, turn on low, and head to bed.  By morning time, you’ll be waking up to the aroma of tasty broth to use for soups, cooking veggies like greens and butterbeans or just to sip. You can throw in some herbs on the front end, or simply cool and freeze and season on the back end depending on how you’ll be using it.  I freeze in pint-size containers and it’s great to be able to grab and cook a little pot of butterbeans or collards with this deliciousness!

So here’s to the versitile Rotisserie Chicken!!  Pick one up today and make this chicken salad twist… ooooh la LA, you’ll be glad you did.

While here, please subscribe to my “Table Scraps” newsletter (green box over there to the right)… an e-zine with great stuff for in, out and about the home!   Take a look at my contributors…

P.S.  Don’t forget to come follow along in my facebook world too…
classy with a bit of sass!!  

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Who wants to cook on hot summer days?  No need with this flavorful Italian chicken salad.... just pick up a rotisserie chicken, throw in a few ingredients and toss with the simple Dijon dressing, and that's it!  Except for a juicy ripe summer tomato you're going to stuff with this good stuff.  

Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned & shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sliced roasted peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garniish
  • 1 4 ounce carton feta cheese with basil and tomato, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 8 large tomatoes, cored and drained upside down
DIJON HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • crushed black pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Stir dressing into chicken to coat. Add all remaining ingredients (except the tomatoes) and mix well.

  2. Chill several hours or overnight. Stuff tomatoes and garnish with reserved feta cheese crumbles and parsley. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes
  • Don’t cut out too much of the delicious tomato — just enough to mound the chicken salad!
  • If you have fresh herbs... oregano, rosemary, basil, etc., use them instead of dried for more robust flavor!

#BlackboardBlurbs… a little teachable moment!
So what are capers?