Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring Pasta Salad

Stumbled across this little gem on the day of Max's birthday party and threw it together. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, so I am making it again tomorrow.

Spring pasta Salad with Asparagas

 asparagus stems, peeled if tough, and ends trimmed 
4 cups penne pasta 
1 cup mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes 
1 large bunch (around 12) spring onions, sliced into thin rounds 
24 ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half and drained for 20 minutes in a colander to remove excess liquid 
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
zest and juice of 1 lemon 
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts 
1 large handful fresh basil leaves, lightly chopped 
salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the asparagus and blanch it until just tender, about 3 minutes.

2. Scoop the asparagus from the water with a large strainer spoon and place in a colander. Run cold water over it to stop the cooking and to preserve the bright green colour. Drain well and slice into small pieces on the diagonal, leaving the tips whole.

3. Bring the water back to a rapid boil and cook the penne until al dente (tender but slightly firm to the bite). Run the pasta under cold water and drain well.

4. In a large serving bowl add the pasta, the blanched asparagus and all the remaining ingredients.

5. Season with salt and pepper, and toss well until all the pasta is well-coated with dressing. Taste for seasoning. This is best served at room temperature. Serves 4 to 5 as a main course, or 6 to 7 as an appetiser or side dish.

Cook's note: Another lovely addition to this dish is around 200g freshly shelled spring peas. Blanch them for 1 minute in the boiling pasta water after you blanch the asparagus. Drain well and add them to the bowl along with the other ingredients. 

{if it seems like I mispelled things is wrote them weird, I didnt I copied it straight out of the British recipe site.}

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