12 oz. (4 cups dry) small penne, fusilli, gemelli, or similar pasta cooked al dente
4 ounces lean prosciutto or other lean Italian ham sliced into thin 1/2 inch long strips
1/2 -cup olive oil cured sun-dried tomatoes rinsed in warm water to remove oil, drained, and dried on paper towels and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons minced green Italian olives
3 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups baby spinach, washed, dried and shredded
2 cups sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1/2 of a yellow or orange bell pepper thinly sliced – optional
3/4 cup fresh grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 oz. divided into 1/2 & 1/4 cups)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1. In a large salad bowl toss together sun-dried tomatoes, olives, red onion and balsamic vinegar and set aside.
2. Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions, rinse under cold water until cool then drain well. Transfer drained pasta to the large bowl with tomato mixture.
3. Add prosciutto, spinach, mushrooms, pepper and 1/2 cup grated cheese to pasta. Pour all but 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette over ingredients and toss all together gently until combined.
4. Serve or cover and chill salad until ready to serve. Before serving add remaining 1/4 cup dressing to salad and toss again to redistribute dressing. Adjust seasonings with pepper and salt if necessary and top with remaining 1/4 cup grated cheese.
Yield: 10 12-cup servings each at approximately 212 calories; 4.4 grams total fat; 1.7 grams saturated fat; 12 milligrams cholesterol; 29.5 grams total carbohydrate; 2.5 grams dietary fiber; 10.2 grams protein; 599 milligrams sodium.
1/2 cup commercial fat free red wine vinaigrette dressing
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil from sun-dried tomatoes or 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes – optional
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside until ready to assemble salad.
Traditional recipe contains 1 pound pasta, 1 8-oz jar of oil cured sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 cup olives and 6 ounces fresh grated Parmesan cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese.
Compare at 360 calories and 15 grams total fat