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Rice Salad with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

(from Piatto Unico, by Toni Lydecker)
Course Main Dish, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of a small lemon 3 to 4 tablespoons
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 2 small red and/or yellow bell peppers roasted, peeled and cut in small squares
  • ½ cup diced fennel bulb or celery
  • ¼ cup black Mediterranean olives pitted, halved or slivered
  • ¼ cup chives basil or flat-leaf parsley leaves, snipped in small pieces with scissors
  • 6 to 8 ounces fresh mozzarella diced small
  • 2 cups baby arugula optional

Instructions

  1. In a serving bowl large enough to hold the salad, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Fill a large saucepan about two-thirds full of water and a small handful of salt. Add the rice, stirring well, and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Turn into a colander or strainer and cool under a gentle stream of running water; drain well.  Transfer to the bowl with the dressing and stir gently.
  3. Mix the bell pepper, fennel, olives (if using), and chives into the rice. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.  Let the flavors blend for up to an hour at room temperature (or longer, refrigerated).
  4. Just before serving, fold in the mozzarella. Pass the serving bowl or serve in shallow bowls lined with baby arugula.