Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Springtime Pasta Salad

     One of my favorite springtime recipes is a pasta salad, even though it is something that is so remarkably easy, but sometimes the easiest things are the most delicious and satisfying.  Over the past few years I have had numerous jobs, but one job in particular was working with a particular catering company here in SLC, for every event we had we always had a "staff meal"  which is always the meal/snack that the staff gets to eat before events, because let me tell you working those events can be really hard work, plus you get hungry watching everyone else eat!  Anyway, without fail on every staff lunch there was some sort of pasta salad, and every time I loved it.  I have always loved pasta salad, once I moved onto another job I missed having those pasta salads so frequently.  So I went straight away to making pasta routinely for myself, after all those pasta cravings can be intense.

     The beauty of pasta salad is that one it is relatively inexpensive to make, and two you can really add whatever you want or have available at that time.  Honestly almost every time I make pasta salad it is different, simply based on what is in season, what was cheapest at the grocery store and so much more.  Sometimes I add crumbled bacon or chopped salami or chicken, or minced anchovies, or sometimes I just load it with tons of veggies.  This recipe is a good foundation, but of course add whatever you do or do not want, or what is available.  I have definitely found that a good pasta salad is addictive.  For years every Sunday I would make a very large pasta salad and eat it for lunch through out the week, and every day the flavors melded more and more together, and it got better and better.

Love From Scratch Springtime Pasta Salad

1/2 cup white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh herbs or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled (your choice what type, I like parsley or tarragon, if you have herbs de provence that is particularly lovely as well.)
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pound pasta (I like to use fun shapes, have fun with it!)
2 cups frozen peas (I cook them, and then chill them before putting them in the salad)
2 pints cherry tomatoes or yellow tomatoes or whatever you like
1/3 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup black olives
1 small purple onion
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

In a large bowl whisk together the vinegar, the water, the salt, the sugar, the herbs, the garlic paste, and pepper to taste, add the oil and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified.  Cook the pasta until it is tender.  In the bowl toss the pasta with the dressing, add the peas, the tomatoes, and the basil and other add ins, and toss the salad well.  Chill before serving. 

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