Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pasta Salad Redeux

 I think I have found my soulmate.  It is healthy.  It is delectable.  It is...pasta salad?

Please get that picture out of your mind!  The one with the mayonnaise and overcooked, soggy macaroni.  Instead take a look at these pictures and change your life forever.

I made this for friends, one of who doesn't eat vegetables.  I figured large pieces of spinach and pear tomatoes would be easy to pick out.  He ate it all.  Every vegetable.  Every piece of pasta.  He said he was just being polite, but do you think we should believe him? 

I was actually sad.  I was looking forward to leftovers.

One of the nice things about pasta salad is the infinite amount of ways it can be made.  Use different vegetables, grill the veggies first, add a meat, change up the cheese.  Use mayonnaise if you must, but first promise me will try this recipe.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

1/2 lbs small "curly" pasta (I used cavatappi)
8 oz grape or pear tomatoes, cut in half
6 oz fresh spinach or radicchio, torn
1/2 lb feta cheese, crumbled
2-4 T good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
   *NOTE: Another "acid" can be substitutes - good choices include white balsamic vinegar, champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 t sea salt, or to taste
3/4 t fresh cracked black pepper

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil for 6-8 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and allow to cool.  (It is "forbidden"  in the cooking world, but I have been known to run it under cool water for a few seconds to stop the internal cooking.

When cool, toss with the tomatoes, greens and cheese and chill.

In a small bowl, whisk 1 T lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Slowly add in 2 T olive oil while whisking.  Toss with chilled pasta.  If it needs more dressing, whisk together the rest of the lemon juice and olive oil, seasoning it with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Let sit for an hour.  Taste and adjust the dressing and the salt as needed.  The dressing amount will depend on your own personal taste.

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