A Pasta Salad fit for Summer Heat

Memorial Day weekend in New England was HOT! It was at least 80 degrees on Sunday and Monday, which lent itself to Jack and I being unable to eat heavy meals. On Monday we decided that a pasta salad was in order because it's not too heavy and it's served cold.

I don't typically love pasta salads because they are either filled with mayonnaise (which I hate!), or drowned in salad dressing. I happened to stumble upon one though that fit the bill for both Jack and I. The salad involved lots of spring veggies and a roasted red pepper dressing. The dressing had about 5 ingredients in total, and was very light in heft but heavy on flavor.

Overall the Roasted Red Pepper pasta salad was a hit, especially with the addition of some bleu cheese. It was certainly filling, but did not make you feel overly full which was ideal with the heat we are experiencing.

I suggest you try this out for any hot summer night, and think that the peas could very easily be substituted for eggplant and squash, depending on the season.

What is your go-to hot summer night meal?

Roasted Red Pepper Salad
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 pound of small pasta- I used a spinach pasta
1/4 pound snow pea pods, ends trimmed
1/2 pound fresh summer peas, which yielded about 1 cup once shelled
3/4 to 1 cup Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a small ice water bath. Boil the pea pods for about two minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drop them in the ice water bath or strainer under a cold water facet. Cook the peas for about 10 minutes, scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water bath as well (or cold water/strainer method). Drain both peas. Cut the snow peas into thin slivers.

Add the pasta into the boiling water and cook it according to package instructions. Drain and let cool, then toss in a large bowl with peas and Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette and cheese, seasoning to taste.

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

Makes about one cup of dressing

1 red bell pepper, roasted, skinned and seeded or the equivalent from a jar, drained- I used a pepper from a jar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (and up to 2 tablespoons more if you, like us, like that extra bite in your dressing)
1 tablespoon chopped shallot (about 1 small)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of black pepper

Puree the red bell pepper in a food processor or blender as much as possible, then add the remaining ingredients and running the machine until the dressing is silky smooth. Adjust the vinegar level and seasonings to taste.

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