Fresh Summer Dressing Meets Pasta

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I always love when a good dinner idea comes to you. Laying in my hammock reading this month’s Sunset, I came across a recipe for fresh oregano dressing. I am one who can take a hint, so I lazily picked a handful of oregano, thyme, and a tomato from my garden and thought pasta salad. Bon Appetit.

Ingredients :

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. pasta (any shape)
  • 1 bell pepper (any color, I used red)
  • 1 heirloom tomato cut into chunks (any tomatoes in your garden would be perfect)
  • ½ English cucumber (1.5 cups diced)
  • ¼ bunch thyme
  • ¼ bunch of oregano
  • 2 oz. goat cheese

Salad dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced green onions (shallots or chives would work)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

Preparation

Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, honey, salt, thyme leaves, garlic, and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil, then stir in oregano leaves. Let dressing sit at least 10 minutes for flavors to blend. Mix one more time before using (dressing won’t be completely blended). Place the chicken breast in a zip lock bag and add half of the dressing, saving the rest to add to the salad later. Mince one more clove of garlic and add it to the bag with the chicken and marinade. Squeeze the air out and massage the bag to make sure the chicken is coated in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain in a colander, and let cool.

Cook chicken on grill (about five minutes each side). There should be enough oil in the marinade to keep the meat from sticking, Dice the cucumber and bell pepper, and tomatoes. Pull the thyme and oregano leaves from the stems and give them a rough chop. Remove the cooked chicken and let it rest for about five minutes. Once slightly cooled, chop the chicken into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Finally, build the salad. Add the cooked and cooled pasta to a large bowl. Top the pasta with the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and chopped chicken. Crumble the goat cheese over top. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

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