Sometimes springtime can take a while to settle down. Some days are still freezing and then all of a sudden you only need to wear a tee shirt outside, plus the house is starting to get a little warmer. This is a little trick of a season, letting us know that summer will soon be here.
So, to minimize the heat in the kitchen between the battles of Mother Nature versus a 350 degree oven - let's make an easy and fresh pasta salad as a side dish (or entree.) This recipe is a big-batch maker, because the leftovers great to take to work as a healthy salad and you can also add ingredients to this to make it completely different, turning it into a main meal by adding cooked chicken or turkey to the mix.
Pasta salads are fun to make because anything goes - you just have to be creative by looking at what you have on hand in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry - you may just surprise yourself at what you can come up with. My Easy Spring/Summer Pasta Salad has many options - it's up to you to make it your own. This recipe uses ready-made red pesto sauce - made with tomatoes - it's delicious!
1 lb. Conghigle Pasta (shells)
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups large black olives, sliced
2 cups roasted red bell peppers
3 cups hot house (English) cucumbers
2 cups red pesto sauce
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (I used cilantro)
1 tsp. (or more) red chili pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup fresh jalepenos, finely diced and seeds removed (optional)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, making sure that you cook it al-dente (firm to the bite.) Drain in a colander and immediately run cold water over the pasta until it's cooled off to prevent further cooking. Shake the colander to remove water from the shells and refrigerate until you are ready to put this altogether.
2. Dice the roasted red bell peppers and half and slice the cucumbers into 1/4" half-moons. In a large bowl combine the corn, olives, bell peppers, cucumbers, red pesto sauce, balsamic vinaigrette, cilantro or parsley - and the pepper flakes and jalepenos if using. Mix well and taste. Add salt and pepper to tastes if needed.
3. Add the mixture to the pasta and mix really well together with a wooden spoon (or gloved hands are the best!) Chill the pasta salad and serve with dinner as a side dish or take along to pot luck as a wow dish!
Check out my own link below on How to Cook Perfect Pasta.