I've been wanting to make a summery pasta salad for a few weeks now, especially after my sister Natalie made this tasty looking arugula pasta salad with chickpea, veggies, olives, and goat cheese.
So when I finally managed to make a trip to my local farmers' market this past weekend, I filled my bags with all the summer veggies I could find and brought them home to use in this pasta salad.
Besides pasta (obviously), this salad has heirloom tomatoes, corn off the cob, field cucumber, Ontario radishes, and fresh basil, plus avocado (not local) and jalapeno.
And as if that wasn't enough, I tossed everything in a creamy green dressing made with roasted cubanelle peppers and avocado. I actually meant to use poblano peppers, but when I couldn't find those, I took my chances on the milder cubanelles and the dressing still turned out wonderful.
The original recipe that I adapted the dressing from was meant to be a salad vinaigrette, so I reduced the amount of water to make it thicker and doubled all of the amounts to make sure I had enough to coat a large amount of pasta. I loved the tang from white wine vinegar and lime juice, and it still had a bit of a bite from jalapeno, garlic, and shallots.
You can't really go wrong with all those fresh summer ingredients, but I really loved the combination of veggies and bowtie pasta noodles coated in the creamy dressing.
And if the long list of ingredients scares you off, don't worry - you can easily adapt the recipe to your whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. I'm thinking red or yellow peppers, green beans, or fresh peas would work well in this salad, and feel free to add more herbs besides the basil.
Summer Pasta Salad with Roasted Pepper Dressing
Inspired by a recipe from Crazy Sexy Kitchen
4 medium sized cubanelle peppers (can substitute poblano peppers if you can find them)
1 tsp olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1 large jalapeno, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3-4 tbsp fresh lime juice
~2 tbsp water
Salt and pepper to taste
1lb (one box) dried farfalle pasta
2 cobs of cooked corn, kernels removed
2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cups halved (or quartered) cucumber slices
1 cup halved radish slices
2 avocados, diced
1 large jalapeno, minced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
First, make the dressing: Preheat oven to broil. Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and broil until slightly blackened on all sides, turning occasionally to broil all sides. Remove from oven and place peppers in a bowl of water for a couple of minutes to loosen the skin. Carefully peel off as much of the thin outer layer of skin as you can, then slice off the stems and remove the seeds. Roughly chop the peppers into pieces.
Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Transfer the cooked peppers, shallot and garlic to a blender. Add the avocado, jalapeno, basil, parsley, vinegar and lime juice and puree until smooth. Add water to thin out a bit (you can add more if needed, but you want a thick dressing). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer dressing to a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Fill a large pot with water and heat on the stove until boiling. Add pasta to the water and boil according to directions on the box. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add the remaining pasta ingredients and toss to combine. Pour dressing over the salad and stir until thoroughly mixed. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.