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Who doesn’t love a great pasta salad? Not only are they filling, easy, kid-friendly, healthy, el cheapo and usually great to serve either hot or cold, if you play your cards right, they can also look gourmet and taste delicious. As a general rule, I like to keep 3-4 packets of dry pasta in my stockpile at all times, in case I need an extra side for Friday nights, or for a last minute Shabbos day add-on. Also, I only ever use Whole Wheat pasta, because, well, the 1980s have been over for quite some time now.

In terms of dressings, sauces and ingredients, anther great aspect of pasta salad is that almost anything goes. You can go Thai-Peanut, Tomatoey, anti-pasto, pesto, less-is-more, add chicken, tuna etc. I rarely plan these types of things in advance, beyond looking on my shelves and in my freezer to see what might work.

Here are two examples of pasta salads that I’ve recently put together:

Whole Wheat Penne with Toasted Walnuts, Cherry Tomatoes and Spinach

penne

Ingredients (quantities are for a side dish good for 10 servings):

  • 16 oz pack of Whole Wheat Penne
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 cups Walnuts
  • 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls Baby Spinach
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper

Cook the Penne according to instructions on packet, drain and set aside in a bowl. Finely chop or crush the Garlic and Walnuts (I use my Ninja) and saute in Olive Oil on medium-high for 5 minutes. Halve the Cherry Tomatoes and add them to the pan. Saute for another 5 minutes before mixing in the Baby Spinach. Leave it on the heat for only a few minutes before mixing the sauteed ingredients into the pasta. Season to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.

Whole Wheat Spagetti with Broccollini and Snow Peas

SpagIngredients (quantities are for a side dish good for 10 servings):

  • 13.25 oz pack of Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 bunch of Broccollini
  • 1 cup of Edamame
  • 1 cup of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper

Cook the Spaghetti according to instructions on the box, drain and set aside in a bowl. Dice Garlic and Onion and saute in Olive Oil on medium-high for 5 minutes and then add the chopped Broccollini. 3-4 Minutes later add the Edamame. Give it a good stir and then mix in the Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste. Cook it down until the liquid thickens (approximately 5 minutes). Stir the vegetable mix into the Spaghetti. Done!

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