Sunday, July 25, 2010

An Inexact Pasta Salad

I've been obsessed with pasta salad lately. In fact, it's the only way I get excited about pasta... otherwise I'd happily go about my business ignoring it.

How much broccoli, you ask? Erm...
There's just something so lovely about the portability of pasta salad! It's go-to picnic food. Making it on Sunday also guarantees that some lunches this week have been taken care of.

Now, when it comes to making pasta salad, I think it's important to be finicky about only one thing: the dressing.


½ medium shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2½ tbsp white balsamic vinegar (use white wine or apple cider if you like)
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Blend all dressing ingredients together in a blender or food processor. This will make the dressing slightly creamy.


Love the corkscrew shape!
Now, I'm not going to lie. For me, pasta salad is an inexact science. It's about palmfuls and leftovers, as you can see from the ingredient list below.

2 cups uncooked pasta (I used a kind of fusilli)
As many veggies as pleases you. I chopped the following into bite sized pieces:
        ½ head broccoli
        a handful of baby carrots
        ¼ each red & yellow pepper
        ½ medium zucchini
        3 artichoke hearts
        handful of kalamata olives
Some protein, chopped (I used two leftover grilled chicken thighs from the ones I cooked for the pizza)
2 tbsp - ¼ cup parmesan cheese (grate it yourself! Makes a world of difference)
½ tsp each dried basil, oregano and thyme
handful parsley, chopped

Cook your pasta until al dente (mine took about 8 minutes). If you like your broccoli blanches, throw it in with the pasta for the last minute or so of cooking time. Drain and throw into a bowl with the other ingredients.

Here's the important thing: add the herbs before you add the dressing. This will distribute everything nicely. Once you've tossed the salad ingredients together, stir in the dressing. Let sit in the fridge to allow flavours to come together.

I say eat it up in 2-3 days. That's tonight's dinner and lunch on Monday and Tuesday sorted!

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