It’s hot. It’s humid. And the UV’s are high. Time to eat al fresco!
This is usually when I would head for the barbecue, but sometimes you know, I just can’t be bothered. All that fuss with lighting coals, spreading them for direct or indirect cooking, trying not to incinerate all the hairs on your hands and arms, not to mention the sausages and burgers!
Don’t get me wrong, I love barbecued food, and I love barbecuing. But I need to be in the right mood and in a nerdy way, get everything perfect. That takes time.
So when I want something al fresco and quick with hardly any work involved, a deli pasta salad is my go-to recipe.
This particular one is wonderfully tasty, and is flexible enough to be able to handle different vegetables (grilled courgettes, roast peppers etc) if you wish to add more, making it perfect for vegetarians. Some goats cheese or feta crumbled through it would also taste great.
Adding some Parma ham or cooked prawns for us none-veggies is also excellent, but to be honest, after having the vegetarian version, I don’t need anything else, except a chilled glass of Rosé perhaps.
This is such an adaptable and healthy salad, who needs a barbecue to eat outside? But if you are having one, this would be an excellent addition to your barbie buffet. INGREDIENTS
300g Farfelle pasta (look like little bow ties)
285g jar of sun-dried tomatoes (I used Sainsbury’s Sun-Dried Tomato Antipasto with herbs)
Large fresh ripe tomato
2 handfulls frozen peas
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used the oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes)
2 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
Garlic clove, crushed (optional)
Large handfull basil leaves, torn
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, throwing in the frozen peas for the final few minutes. When both the pasta and peas are tender, tip into a colander and drain, then run cold water over them for a few minutes to cool and to prevent the pasta sticking.
Leave to drain fully and dry off.
To make the dressing, roughly chop the fresh tomato and about half of the sun-dried tomatoes. Place in a food processor (I only needed a mini one) along with the oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, basil leaves, salt and black pepper.
I use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes because it has that extra tomato flavour, but you can use any extra virgin olive oil you please.
Whizz everything together until you have a smooth dressing, and taste for seasoning.
If it is too astringent with the vinegar (some vinegars are more acidic than others) just stir in a teaspoon of sugar to balance out the flavour to suit your preference.
Tip the dressing into a large bowl and add the cooled pasta and peas.
Mix thoroughly with the remainder of the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and another handfull of basil leaves.
Time to head outside and enjoy the al fresco weather, and don’t forget the Rosé!