So real quick I wanted to tell you about this salad I tried out. It was from Smitten Kitchen's lovely blog. Usually she never steers me wrong, but I'd have to say I wasn't too wowed by this one.
It was a really basic idea for a pasta salad. I think it would work best as a starting point, but definitely needs things added to it. I guess that sounds pretty harsh, but that's what I thought. It consisted primarily of peas and pasta. Then the vinaigrette is added for some color, flavor, and fluidity between the noodles. I give the vinaigrette two thumbs up! It was slightly frothy with a wonderful "pucker inducing effect" from the added red wine vinegar. I will certainly make this one again and again, experimenting with it on all kinds of things!
So the vinaigrette was great, but the rest was lacking. I served this at a family picnic type thing and it got pretty good reviews. But it was agreeably decided that one could/should build off from it. And I hope to soon. I do think it was saved a little when my mom and I ran to the local corner market and bought some asiago cheese to sprinkle throughout it right before serving. Thank goodness for cheese!! In the original recipe cheese isn't recommended because it was thought to be just fine without it. I thought the cheese was a must!
Also, the ratio of peas to pasta didn't look so good in my bowl. I was really concerned about why my pasta looked so whelming against the peas. I think I figured it out, though. It says to use a small sized pasta whereas I bought medium-sized pasta shells. That's where I think I messed up. But I also think my peas looked really inconsistent in size which didn't look so attractive.
And not to complain anymore but... it was pretty dry tasting to me. Add more dressing if necessary!
To make it was easy enough, I suppose. Boil your two types of peas and then shock 'em in an ice bath. Cook pasta until al dente. Slice one type of pea and then pop peas out of the other type. Combine and stir dressing throughout. But just peas and pasta weren't enough for me. I needed more. So I think I might continue to work with this one, trying out different varieties. It's a great healthy pasta dish idea that I'm hoping to just make my own. So again, no offense to Smitten Kitchen (love your blog!).
Summer Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
from Smitten Kitchen
1 pound of small pasta (preferably shells because it looks cuter when you find surprise peas inside)
1/4 pound snow pea pods, ends trimmed
1/2 pound fresh summer peas (I don't know if I got the right kind she called for, but I tasted fine)
3/4 to 1 cup Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe below)
cheese added to taste and for visual attractiveness
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a small ice water bath. Boil the snow pea pods for about two minutes, or until just barely cooked but still crisp. Scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and drop them in the ice water bath. Cook the summer peas for about 10 minutes (once again, this will be al dente, you can cook them longer if you prefer them softer), scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water bath as well. 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, 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 jarred which worked beautifully)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (add to taste, really)
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.
-asiago cheese (or your favorite)
-larger peas or more of them
-increase amount of dressing added (make multiple batches because trust me, you'll love it and use it)
-be creative! Add other veggies, different cheeses, herbs, or pasta types.
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