2-4ouncesshaved pecorino romano cheeseor parmesan cheese
If using dry sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrate in water for one hour before beginning.
In a food processor or blender, pulse together the sun-dried tomatoes, prunes, garlic, dijon mustard, and lemon juice until combined. Scrape down the sides of the container.
With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. Pulse in the rosemary, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Cook the pasta to al dente in a large pot of salted water. (According to the package’s instructions.) Drain and rinse, toss lightly with olive oil and spread out out on a baking sheet to cool
In a dry pan over medium low heat, toast the pine nuts until lightly golden brown. If using the optional chile flakes, you can add them to the heat to intensify their flavor. Set aside and let cool.
Once pasta cools, combine it and the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette in a large bowl. Toss until well covered. Fold in the additional sun-dried tomatoes, prunes, shallots, olives, pine nuts and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, shave in the pecorino romano cheese, and serve.
Avoid extra virgin olive oil in the sun dried tomato dressing if possible. The heavy battering it takes during emulsification can make it bitter. It also tends to overpower the flavor of the sundried tomatoes. Reserve the olive oil as an optional drizzle on the salad itself.
Brighten up the flavor of the salad by adding one cup of quartered cherry tomatoes and/or some small pinches of fresh mozzarella
Casarecce pasta often comes in 12 ounce boxes instead of one pound. You may not need to use all of the dressing if you go with a fancy pasta like this.