One of my favorite places on earth is Aspen, Colorado. It’s the only place I can go and feel no guilt in doing absolutely nothing all week! The one exception to this “do absolutely nothing” motto is going to one of my favorite restaurants, Il Poggio… a small Italian spot in Snowmass Village, one level above the Snowmass Village Mall. It’s got a great warm feeling with a visible bread oven and an awesome bar where the wine never stops flowing! On the side that overlooks the Snowmass Village Mall, there are floor to ceiling windows that provide a great view of the slopes and outdoor mall! Every time I go I end up ordering the same thing… their arugula salad with strawberries and glazed pecans and penne pasta with marinara and chicken basil sausage! Sooooo amazing, if you are ever planning to go to Aspen you must try this restaurant. I have been wanting to go back so bad lately and I actually found myself reminiscing about my recent winter vacation the other day. Of course I was thinking about all the great breweries (Avery White Rascal became my new favorite) and eateries around the Aspen area. In the end I found myself craving this sweet arugula salad, so I decided to try and recreate Il Poggio’s recipe for myself! This recipe makes enough for 1 large salad or 2 side salads!
Ingredients for Salad
-2 and 1/2 cups fresh arugula (packed)
-1/3 cup strawberries (chopped)
-1/3 cup candied pecans
-1 to 1.5 Tbsp Balsamic Glaze (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
-Optional: gorgonzola cheese
Ingredients for Candied Pecans
-1/2 cup pecan halves (2.25 OZ bag)
-1 Tbsp powdered sugar
-3 Tbsp brown sugar
-2 tsp cinnamon
-a pinch of salt
-1/4 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp water
-1 Tbsp egg white
Directions for Candied Pecans
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine vanilla, water, and egg white. In a plastic bag combine powered sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Toss pecans in egg white mixture until evenly coated, then use a spoon to scoop the coated pecans into the bag with the sugar mixture. Seal and shake until pecans are fully coated with mixture. Pour the pecans on the cookie sheet and spread them evenly. Put in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, tossing with a spoon about every 10 minutes. Allow to cool and store in tupperware until needed.
Directions for Arugula Salad
On a large plate place arugula and top with freshly chopped strawberries and candied pecans. Take a spoonfull of balsamic glaze and lightly drizzle over the top of your salad. Top with gorgonzola cheese if desired. Enjoy!