This very light, fresh dressing works equally well on mixed greens, spinach or romaine, or just drizzled over sliced, fresh, ripe summer tomatoes and fresh Italian basil leaves. Quick and easy to make fresh, but stores well for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. It's a family recipe brought over from the old country by my nonna (grandma.)
White vinegar may be used, but the taste will be sharper. Balsamic gives a smoother flavor. If you feel the vinegar is too sharp for your taste, blend in 1 tablespoon light corn syrup.
I am the submitter of this recipe. I have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to have a misprint corrected. The water should be 1/3 cup, NOT 1/2 cup. The longer you let it mellow, the thicker it gets, also. So if you like your dressing to be thick, BE SURE to make it at least 24 hours before you need it and allow it to rest in the fridge before use. Another way to make it thicker if you don't have resting time that I can recommend is to put 1 Tb tomato paste in the blender with the rest of the ingredients. The paste not only makes it thicker, it rounds out the taste and imparts a lovely blush. Feel free to add more Parmesan if you like it, which will also lend additional body to the dressing. The flavor is best if you avoid garlic powder (which no self-respecting Italian would ever have in his/her kitchen) and stick with fresh garlic. If raw garlic is too sharp for your taste, brown it lightly in a touch of olive oil before incorporating it. It's well worth the time to do this. Once again, if you find it too acidic for your taste, either be sure to use a high quality balsamic - from Modena, which has a much smoother finish on the palate, or add a tablespoon or two of corn syrup and blend well. Nothing is carved in stone. You can tailor this recipe to your taste. BTW, one reviewer questioned the olive oil amount, and it only seems low. Don't forget that the mayonnaise is almost pure oil, as well, which is why the recipe only calls for 3 Tb olive oil. - 20 Jun 2009 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
Great recipe for homemade Italian dressing! I used Hellman's light mayo and a good quality balsamic vinegar. I also used 1/3 c. of water a little more Parmesan and garlic and added 1/2 tsp. of white sugar. I let it sit overnight and it went perfect over mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and thin sliced red onion. This is a fabulous salad dressing! Thanks Baricat for a great recipe! - 17 Aug 2009 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I took the submitter's suggestion for smoother flavor and used a quality balsamic and reduced the water as suggested. I had time to make this dressing early this morning while cleaning up the breakfast dishes. The mayonnaise I used was reduced-fat and I used extra virgin olive oil and honestly, this didn't affect the flavor at all. This was good but I did end up tripling the spices after sticking a pinky in and giving it a try. IMO, this is one of the best salad dressings I've had on this site. I cannot stress enough that you use a quality balsamic for the best results. I could really just drink a vat of this--thanks for a new family favorite, Baricat! - 15 Mar 2011 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)