Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pepperoni pasta

This was easy, fast, and incredibly good. :)

Pepperoni pasta

I came across this Cavatappi with Pepperoni recipe in's "Quick Pasta" slideshow. Pasta, tomatoes, garlic, onion, bell pepper, and a very respectable amount of pepperoni to give it a bit of heat. I followed the recipe pretty closely. However, instead of dumping all the grease from the pepperoni, I kept a bit of it in the pan and used that to sauté the onion and pepper. I also used a couple of 8 oz cans of plain no-salt-added tomato sauce instead of the whole tomatoes in the recipe.

Pepperoni pasta

This was filling, but not heavy. Nice mild heat from the pepperoni, balanced by the sweet onions and peppers. It was done in under half an hour, not much cleanup... gotta love that.

Two thumbs up!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lime and Basil Pasta Salad

Lime and Basil Pasta Salad

We've had a couple of hot, humid days here, and it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a summery pasta salad. It was inspired by Orzo with Grilled Shrimp, Summer Vegetables, and Pesto Vinaigrette by Sara Foster. Lovely recipe, except for two main ingredients that I can't eat: shrimp and pesto (which usually has nuts in it). This has the same underlying idea as the original: pasta, grilled summer vegetables, lime vinaigrette, fresh basil. Light, refreshing, and perfect for a warm night.

I have a countertop grill, so there was no chance that the green beans would fall through the grate. For a regular grill, you could wrap the green beans up in foil and grill them in a packet.

Grilled vegetables

Lime and Basil Pasta Salad
serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side

8 ounces orzo or other small pasta
Juice of one lime
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 red or yellow bell pepper, quartered
1/4 to 1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed
1 pound cooked chicken, cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill with olive oil, then grill pepper until softened and lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove pepper to cool. Grill green beans until they develop grill marks, about 5 minutes (they should still have a nice crunch to them). Remove green beans to cool.

Once cooled, chop green beans into 1" pieces and chop bell pepper into bite-size pieces or smaller. Add cooked chicken, green beans, and bell pepper to bowl with pasta. Add lime vinaigrette and sliced basil; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve cold or at room temperature.