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Portillo’s is a Chicago institution, a hot dog stand that was started in 1963 by Dick Portillo’s in a small trailer with no running water, and has now grown to 47 locations. Their chopped salad is famous. The Italian Dressing is from the Chicago Sun-Times. It is similar to the dressing found on salads at Portillo's and Maggiano's restaurants. Tip: If you make the dressing ahead of time and add a little bit to the cooled pasta and let it soak it up in the refrigerator for added flavor. Also, I believe chopped grilled chicken is in the original recipe.
- 4 cups cooked ditalini (cooked in salted water)
- 1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
- 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
- 2 1⁄2 cups chopped red cabbage
- 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 cup sliced green onion
- 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola (about 1 cup)
Sweet Italian Dressing
- 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- To Make the Sweet Italian Dressing: Place vinegar, garlic, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the blender top or feed tube until dressing is combined and emulsified. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- To Make The Chopped Salad: Cook ditalini pasta according to package instructions. Drain and cool. Set aside.
- Cook bacon in a skillet until done. Let bacon cool, then crumble it.
- Combine romaine, iceberg, red cabbage, tomatoes and green onions in large salad bowl.
- Add cooled pasta, bacon and gorgonzola cheese to salad.
- Add dressing to taste right before serving so that it doesn't get soggy.
The salad ingredients are the same as Portillo's Chopped salad. The dressing is a very good tasting balsamic vinegar dressing. Portillo's chopped salad dressing, however, does not look like this dressing. This recipe's dressing does work with the salad ingredients. I"m glad I made it.