Orzo Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette

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I recently returned from an amazing “girl’s weekend” with my book club.  We had so much fun together as we always do—sharing a love for food and cooking in addition to our passion for books and conversation.

Our group was divided into two groups for overnight accommodations—and after our days of relaxing, walking, shopping or book discussion, we took turns hosting dinners for the whole group.  On “our” night, our hostess planned this casual yet very elegant menu:

Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Marinated in Balsamic Vinaigrette
Orzo Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette
Grilled Fresh Asparagus
Fresh Tomato and Basil Salad

When we started our dinner preparation, the other three of us on her “cooking team” asked for the recipe for the orzo salad so we could help to make it.  She said breezily “oh, there isn’t one—I just thought it sounded good—so let’s figure it out as we go.”  And so, after a creative conversation, this is the recipe that was developed.  When the other half of the club arrived for dinner and tasted this—everyone wanted the recipe.    We settled on my blog as a quick way to communicate and so here it is—first and foremost, with love and affection to the fabulous women in our book club—and then, with our compliments to the other wonderful readers of Sauce and Sensibility.  Enjoy!

Orzo Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
1/3-cup truffle oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound box or bag of orzo pasta
½ cup pine nuts
8 ounces fresh white button mushrooms, chopped
2 cups loosely packed fresh arugula, coarsely chopped
1 cup loosely packed Parmesan curls

To make the truffle vinaigrette, put the mustard and the vinegar in a small bowl and stir together.  Whisk in the truffle oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.


Cook the orzo pasta according to the package directions and drain thoroughly.  In a large salad bowl, combine the orzo, the pine nuts, the mushrooms and the arugula and stir to combine.  Add the truffle vinaigrette (I start by adding half of it and keep adding and tasting until I like it) and stir to combine.  Gently fold in the Parmesan curls so as not to break them up too much.  This can sit on the counter for a half hour or so and is best served at room temperature.  If you’ve made it ahead, pull it out of the refrigerator an hour or so before serving to bring it back to room temperature.

Note:  Two days later, we tasted the leftovers which held up beautifully—so feel free to make this in advance.

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8 Responses to Orzo Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette

  1. This sounds really good. I’ve been debating getting a bottle of truffle oil but wasn’t sure what to make with it. I may give this a try!

  2. Susan says:

    I completely understand your “debate” about the truffle oil–the bottle I bought cost $13. But I do like the flavor so much, it adds a great flavor to inexpensive ingredients. Try splashing a little bit on roasted potatoes just before serving, or in mashed potatoes or bruschetta with goat cheese and tomatoes. It really adds an interesting flavor, and you’ll use the whole bottle in no time.

  3. This salad is so good . My husband and I enjoy it as a light Sunday supper.

  4. Susan says:

    And it makes enough to have yummy leftovers for lunch a day or two later….

  5. Dianna Hardy says:

    Love this recipe. Making it this weekend with pork tenderloin marinated in light soy and fresh rosemary. This is the best website in the world. I want to try everything. Thanks!

  6. Susan says:

    I love this too–wish I were going to be at your house this weekend! Thank you for your kind words Dianna–they mean a lot coming from a great cook!

  7. Corina Villa says:

    I went to a restaurant a couple years back and they served a delicious salad of mozzarella and tomatos. Just recently I discovered the name of the dish as being Caprese Salad. Would a Balsamic Truffle Vinaigrette be a good dressing? Also what is a drizzle? How would I measure a drizzle?
    I look forward to hearing from you soon,
    Corina Villa

  8. Susan says:

    Corina, Caprese Salad is delicious, and I love it too. It is often served with a “drizzle” of balsamic vinaigrette. I would define a drizzle as…starting with a teaspoonful of liquid, drip or “drizzle” it over the salad. Keep going by teaspoonfuls until you are happy with the taste. As to your question about Balsamic Truffle Vinaigrette, I think that might be too much of a good thing. Balsamic vinegar has a very distinct and strong flavor which unfortunately would overpower the very subtle flavor of truffle. Just my opinion though, try it and let me know!

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