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Thursday, May 31, 2007

simple pasta salad


Summers without cool pasta salad has become unthinkable. It is my favorite picnic and potluck food during the hot summer months. It can be prepared ahead of time, and in fact tastes better that way, and I can throw in fresh vegetables and herbs from my garden - anything goes really, based on personal taste... it feels like the perfect food!

Although it is not officially summer yet this year, I have already made pasta salad quite a few times in the last couple of months. I prefer the tricolor rotini usually, but, whole-wheat penne or farfalle or even ditalini are good too. The dressing varies a lot depending on my mood and the ingredients handy, but, usually I keep it simple.

Procedure is fairly straightforward: cook the pasta al dente; throw in some fresh vegetables (steam them lightly if preferred), add some fresh herbs and seasonings, dress with any favorite vinaigrette, toss well and allow to rest in the fridge overnight.

steamed green peas
kalamata olives
sundried tomatoes
pickled capers

3-4 garlic cloves finely minced

toasted walnuts (optional)
toasted pine nuts (optional)

fresh herbs (from my garden, in season):
fennel leaves
basil leaves
oregano leaves
chives and chive flowers

olive oil (or canola oil, if preferred)
balsamic vinegar
any favorite hot sauce (like Tabasco™ or Franks Red Hot™)
paprika powder


cook the pasta per package directions till al dente; drain, rinse in cold water, set aside

chop the vegetables to bite-size pieces; slit the olives if preferred, coarsely chop the sundried tomatoes; i use small capers so i leave them whole

finely chop the fresh herbs, and sauté the garlic and herbs till they bloom; set aside

combine the vinaigrette ingredients and stir well; i am leaving out the exact amounts as it can be varied to your taste;

combine the pasta, sautéed herbs, chopped vegetables in a large bowl, drizzle in the vinaigrette a little at a time and toss well; add wnough vinaigrette to coat all the ingredients so that they are not dry.

Cover and refrigerate overnight (or up to 12 hrs). Garnish with toasted walnuts and/or pine nuts. Serve cold with some rustic artisan olive bread.

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  • At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sounds yummy..I like my summer pasta salad with roasted red peppers and feta and a dash of Annie's green goddess dressing..

    I gather from your posts you live in portland..I live in Eugene..are you enjoying the warm temps?



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