Tuscan Pasta Salad
I have recently been doing some design work for a small but perfectly formed client who has a rather splendid café in Victoria (I will put a link to his website when I have finished building it. Nag me!). Part of the design work is to shoot photographs of his rather excellent food. He sells takeaway pasta dishes that you can mix and match from a wide range of ingredients. He also sells some trusty ‘standard’ items (believe me, they are not standard, nor are they average or ordinary) that are listed on his menu.
Now, I am a man of symmetry. I like symmetry, especially when I’m designing menus boards. He had five salads. I needed him to have six – two rows of three. So whilst doing the layout, I shoved an entirely imagined item, Tuscan Pasta Salad, into the empty space.
Then came the photography and I decided to invent the Tuscan Pasta salad for real. It is dead simple to make, healthy and delicious. And Tuscan. Which sounds Italian because it is.
The recipe consists of two main groups of things: Roast veg and pasta. So here goes:
- 1 red pepper – remove the core and chop into biggish chunks
- 1 Green Pepper
- 10 halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 Red onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- Some halved mushrooms
- Coarse ground pepper
- A sprig of rosemary
- Sea salt
- A few trimmed green beans (for steaming)
- A few tender stem broccoli florets (to steam with the beans)
- Pasta – any short pasta will do – I’d recommend conchiglie _ I used fresh gigli (it means flower in Italian) made fresh by my client. You are unlikely to find it in the shops.
- Cook the pasta as usual – I slightly overcook the pasta for a salad by about a minute
- Get all the other stuff except the beans and the broccoli and put them in a pot with a small amount of olive oil – I only use a tablespoon
- Put the lid on the pot and subject the contents to an earthquake. This mixes everything up, gets the salt and oil etc. where it should be
- Sling the veg on a roasting tray and roast for 10 minutes at 200 degrees
- Steam your beans for seven minutes, adding the broccoli when there are three minutes remaining.
- Rinse the cooked pasta in cold water to cool it down (or have it hot – I don’t care and it is deluxe whichever way you have it)
- Add your roasted veg and the juices to the pasta
- Stir with a mighty vigour
- Sling the steamed broccoli and beans on top
- Add toasted pine nuts if you want to really impress yourself. And me.
As with all my recipes, don’t get over anxious about quantities. Just follow your nose!