Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

       Recently we were emailed asking for a cold pasta dish idea and immediately one of our chefs thought of a dish she has been serving at picnics and as an opener to big Italian dinners for years. Too many pasta salads are drowning in mayonnaise and have no additional flavoring agents. Our salad is studded with rich sun dried tomatoes, fresh bright basil, and texture from toasted pine nuts. It will also stand up better because instead of binding with mayo we use a blend of Caesar dressing. Now go enjoy a nice lunch and forget about pre-made deli pasta salads.

1 lb box bowtie pasta
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1/2 cup oil based Caesar dressing
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
8 oz feta cheese

1. To begin this recipe fill a large pot, about 4 quarts, with water and add a good handful of salt. Turn the stove to high and bring this water to a boil.
2. While you are waiting for the water to boil prepare the rest of the ingredients. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toast these for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until a golden brown color develops. Then julienne the sun dried tomatoes, roughly chop the basil, and mince the garlic and onion.
3. At this point the water should be boiling and you can cook your pasta according to the boxes directions, as always aim for al dente.
4. Now in a large bowl combine the pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, onion, dressings, and seasonings.
5. Once the pasta is cooked drain it into a colander and rinse under cold water to chill it quickly.
6. Now toss the pasta in the bowl with the dressing mixture and add the feta cheese. Taste for seasoning and enjoy.

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