I made a pasta salad to snack on while the weather calms its ass down, but didn’t get any good photos of it. Cheers!
Anyway, ages ago there was a Cooks Illustrated article about the theory of good pasta salad, and it changed the way I make them. The general idea was:
- Make the vegetable-to-pasta ratio higher on the veg
- Over-dress the salad a smidge
- Serve with fresh greens (spinach, arugula, etc.)
So basically what you’re making is a kind of saturated pasta salad, low on the pasta, that you then serve over a bed of greens that benefit from the overdressing. It kind of all evens out. The result is pasta salad that doesn’t feel like a medicine ball being thrown at your abdomen.
My usual routine goes a little something like this:
vinaigrette that I eyeball but which consists of
sugar or honey
lots of pepper
squirt of good mustard
some fresh herbs if I got ‘em
garlic or shallot run over the Microplane to make a fine paste
and then a pasta salad that consists of
½ lb. pasta
1 lb. fresh green beans, cut into 1″ lengths and blanched for 3 minutes in salty water
½ bag frozen peas
¼ thinly sliced red onion
large handful of finely shredded basil
probably more salt
Anyway, you get the general idea. Like all pasta salads, it tastes way, way better after a few hours of sitting and best of all the second day. If there’s a heat wave comin’ I highly recommend getting this in the fridge the night before, making sure you have a stash of spinach, arugula or other favorite green on hand and then allow yourself to be smug when you don’t have to cook for the next two days.
When serving, lay down a small bed of greens and top with pasta salad and some fresh cheese (I think the cheese should always be withheld until serving). In our case I topped mine with just some fresh parmesan, while Mike topped his with diced salami, diced sharp cheddar and a some parmesan. We were happy.
I can’t be bothered to take a decent photo.
Until today, when I realized that even a cup of fresh arugula is borderline more than my digestive system can handle, so when I eat it for dinner again tonight it’ll be sans verte.April 23rd, 2009 | Make It So