Sunday, April 27, 2008
If You Can't Take the Heat......Make Pasta Salad
This is really one of my favorite summer dinners, but seeing as it was nearly 80 all last week I gave in and made it even though it's still spring. It's delicious, healthy and can be made almost entirely from things in your pantry. Best of all, it's something you can make even when it's insanely hot outside. I speak from experience. My kitchen is the only room in my apartment that has absolutely no air conditioning, so I am well familiar with perils of adding more heat to already hot.
(for 2 hungry people)
1/2 lb to 3/4 lb of pasta (I usually use rotini, but used penne this time)
1 C of chopped tomatoes (I like cherry/grape tomatoes cut in quarters)
3/4 C chopped kalamata olives
3 oz feta cheese
1-2 cloves garlic
1 C chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 T plus 1 t lemon juice (this was the juice of 1 lemon for me)
1 T red wine vinegar
6 T extra virgin olive oil + a bit for cooking the garlic
1 t oregano
salt & pepper
Boil the water for the pasta. While waiting for the water to boil, chop the tomatoes and garlic and set aside. Chop the kalamata olives. When the water is boiling, lightly salt the water and add the past and cook according to the directions on the box. Add a small amount of olive oil to a small pan and cook the garlic on low heat until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes over low heat, just enough to bring out the flavor in the tomatoes. When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the olives, tomato and garlic mixture and the chickpeas. Crumble the feta into the pasta. Mix just enough to evenly distribute the ingredients. Then make the dressing. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Then stream in the 6 T of olive oil mixing all the while. Add your seasoning (salt, pepper and oregano) but go really easy on the salt because both the olive and the feta are salt. Pour the dressing over the pasta, mix to coat and then let it sit for 5 minutes. Serve lukewarm.
BONUS INFO: If you are cooking for someone who refuses to consider something a main dish unless it has meat, you could add some cooked chicken to this. I made it that way before I discovered that I really much prefer it without the chicken and it's much less work without the chicken. But I understand some people won't eat vegetarian, and that's no reason to skip this recipe.