Ramen Noodle Salad

Ramen Noodle Salad

4 cups water, divided use
1 package ramen noodles (discard flavor packet)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
2 tablespoons yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons celery, diced small
2 tablespoons carrot, diced small
1 cup white beans, soaked (cover beans with water, let sit overnight)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 thin slices serrano ham
3 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
6 romaine leaves (inner leaves)
2 slices fennel bread (or other rustic bread), 2 ounces each
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add ramen; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and let cool. Add basil, rosemary, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon olive oil; mix. Set aside.

Heat remaining olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, celery, and carrot; sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Add beans (drain any water); sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups water (or use chicken broth); cook until vegetables are tender. Drain excess water. Refrigerate.

In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer balsamic vinegar until it reaches a syrup consistency and is reduced to 1/4 cup.

Place ham slices on a plate; top each with arugula and romaine leaves. Wrap ham around the leaves to form four vaselike structures.

Cut bread slices in half on the bias; rub with olive oil. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until crisp.

Divide noodle salad between two serving plates. Place two ham “vases” and two bread slices on each plate; drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Makes 2 servings.

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