Saturday, June 5, 2010

whole-wheat pasta salad with grilled zucchini and olives

for good buddy of BOOF, ea’s farewell party, I decided to conjure up a nice little summer pasta salad. i usually default to pasta salad for most summer soirees primarily because 1) they are easy to make and 2) who doesn’t like pasta salad?
i had some ricotta in the fridge that i needed to use before it went bad, so I did a little pasta and ricotta search on epicurious and found this quick and easy recipe.

1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil (preferably extra-virgin) plus additional for brushing zucchini
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 pound whole-wheat penne or other tubular pasta
2/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, chopped coarse* I didn’t chop mine, just added them whole.
6 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese, diced
1 1/2 cups whole small or torn large fresh basil leaves* Ehh, i just used dried basil.

1) In a large bowl gently stir together tomatoes, onion, garlic paste, vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil

2) Brush one side of zucchini slices lightly with additional oil and season with salt and pepper.

3) Heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderate heat until hot and grill zucchini, oiled sides down, in batches, brushing tops with more oil before turning, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until just tender but not soft. Transfer zucchini as grilled to a small bowl.* If you have a grill, that’s an even better option. :-)

4) In a pot of salted boiling water cook pasta until just tender and drain well.

5) Add hot pasta to tomato mixture and toss well.

6) Cool pasta slightly and stir in zucchini, olives, ricotta, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.

7) Enjoy and Share!
Additional Notes: Serve pasta warm or at room temperature.

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