Monday, September 10, 2007

Pasta Salad Recipe - Marinated Veggies.

Sorry, it's a little wordy. But, once you get through the blahblahblah, it really is a simple salad to make.

Ingredients:
50g or 1.75oz carrot, shaved* or grated.
50g or 1.75oz onion, diced small. (Can use 5-6 green/spring onions if you prefer)
1 Lebanese** cucumber, sliced fine. (or half a stalk of celery, sliced fine)
60g or 2oz broccoli florets, cut small then blanched. (Blanching is important brings out flavour of broccoli and stops the slight bitterness.)
100g or 3.5oz marinated artichokes, chopped.
115g or 4oz Roasted red peppers/capsicums, diced small.
75g or 2.5oz sundried tomatoes in oil, diced small.
2.5 - 3 cups of cooked pasta shapes.***
Dash of salt.

Dressing:
For this dressing I use some of the oil/vinegar mix from the artichokes, some oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, plus some golden balsamic vinegar to make a vinaigrette. I think I use between 1/4 to a 1/3 cup of dressing, certainly no more than half a cup all up. Don't use brown balsamic as the flavour really is too sweet and heavy for this salad. Definitely don't use malt vinegar either. If you don't have golden balsamic, white vinegar or a wine vinegar would be equally tasty. Not sure about apple cider or rice vinegar though. Have fun, experiment!
Make sure whichever dressing you make, or buy, that the vinaigrette ratio is 1:1 oil and vinegar. You want to balance out the oily, marinated ingredients with slightly more vinegar than would go in a traditional vinaigrette dressing. (usually 2:1 oil and vinegar)

Method:
Chop all vegetables, chuck in a mixing bowl. Once pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, drain and toss through ingredients. Add enough dressing to thoroughly coat everything. Season with a little salt if you like. Set in fridge to cool for at least an hour. Taste before serving and add more vinaigrette if necessary. That's a big mistake a lot of people make (I still do it sometimes too.) Make it up till it tastes great, forgetting that as it sits in the fridge, the dressing gets absorbed by the pasta and needs to be refreshed just before serving. That's why so many pasta salads can taste blah. Not enough dressing. Or it's been added when the pasta is already cold, so it's got nothing to stick to.



*For pasta salads I like to use the vegetable peeler to shave off long noodle-like slices of carrot, then cut them into approximately baby-carrot-sized lengths. It gives a nice amount of give for the teeth, without being too crunchy. But, by all means if you prefer to grate or cut into thin slices, please do.
**I'm not sure what you call them, but they're the smallish cucumbers with smaller seeds and pale green flesh. Definitely not the long ones that usually come wrapped in plastic, nor the dark-skinned, white-fleshed fat ones with bigger seeds.
***Preferably not elbow macaroni as it's too small, nor penne as they're too big. Shells, bowties, spirals or anything approximately that size are good. Measurements are rough because I tend to go by eye each time. Adding enough to balance without overwhelming the other ingredients in the salad.

2 Nibbles:

Marshmallow said...

OoOoooooo, thanks for the pasta tips, I was wondering why my pasta salads turn out a bit blah. I can't wait to try this out

[and by the way, you've been tagged!]

San said...

salad sounds good, will give it a go - then if i love it i'll make it for the house warming.

hope you're mending!