Big Italian Salad
1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled
⅓ cup red wine vinegar, best quality such as Pompeian Gourmet
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita
Heaping ¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
1 large head romaine lettuce (or 3 hearts), washed, dried and cut into large, bite-sized pieces
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup seeded and chopped hothouse cucumbers
1 to 2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
Handful grape tomatoes, halved
Handful pitted olives
Ricotta Salata or Feta, crumbled to taste
Make the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor and blitz to blend.
Place all of the salad ingredients except for the cheese in a large bowl. Right before serving, add about half of the dressing and toss well. Add more dressing little by little as necessary; be sure to dress greens very generously, otherwise salad will be bland. Toss in the cheese, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Note: Ricotta salata is an Italian sheep's milk cheese that has a salty, slightly tangy flavor, almost like a dry Italian feta. It is not the same as the wet ricotta in the tub. You can find it at Whole Foods, gourmet grocers or specialty cheese shops.
Note: Nutritional information was calculated assuming ½ cup of ricotta salata and all of the dressing was used.