Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pasta and Beans Salad

Pasta and beans salad is so versatile and so much faster to make then my potato salad that it has become our stand-by for busy summer days. This version was done in about 25 minutes from start to plating. There is very little peeling and chopping involved as opposed to potato salad where I can spend at least 30 minutes just peeling and chopping potatoes, onions and carrots, even with my technique using mandolin.
Lately I have been using Lumache shape pasta for salads. The pasta is shaped like a snail and when mixed with other ingredients almost every “snail” is filled with something. In picture bellow you can see how well it holds beans and peas.

(This is just a suggestion, be creative)
1 cup dry Pasta shapes
1 19 oz. can mixed beans
1/2 small onion, chopped
Green beans, cooked and chopped
Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Fresh Basil, chopped
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Hot sauce (optional)
Truffle oil (optional)
Parmigiano Regiano, shaved or grated
§    In a large pot bring salted water to boil.
§    Put chopped onions in a mixing bowl.
§    Drain and wash mixed beans in a colander and place them in mixing bowl with onions.
§    When water comes to boil drop in pasta and scrape bottom to make sure that pasta doesn’t stick.
§    When pasta is almost al dente drop beans and onions into boiling pasta water. This will soften beans and remove harshness from raw onions. I always blanch raw onions for salads.
§    Drain pasta, beans and onions in large colander and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain well, preferably in salad spinner.
§    Move pasta, beans, onions, chopped tomatoes and green beans into mixing bowl and season with little bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, Truffle oil and hot sauce, if using, and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
§    Serve in individual bowls, sprinkle basil and cheese on top. Seasoned croutons are nice addition. You can also add leftover cooked chicken or hard boiled egg. As I said, be creative, it can be nice light lunch.

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