Monday, May 18, 2009

Danielle's Pasta Salad

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Or pasta salad? Hmmm....
I haven't been eating much ice cream lately, but I have been thinking about all those foods that seem to conjure up summer-time memories: grilled chicken, burgers & hot dogs, lemonade, ice cream cones, Popsicles, crisp salads with fresh veggies, summer squash, tomatoes fresh from the vine- the list goes on and on. Summertime foods to me are usually just simple, fresh foods with minimal preparation- food that just tastes good on its own and refreshes and rejuvenates me. Lemons are a delicious, juicy fruit that I like to use in all sorts of ways, especially in the summertime. This week I'll be posting recipes that incorporate this tasty fruit.

My very good friend Danielle taught me a recipe for pasta salad years ago and I still make it every summer. It's the most refreshing pasta salad and it's also incredibly easy to make. It took me a while to write the recipe down, so it may have changed a bit since the first time I tasted it, but I wanted to share the recipe as it is in my recipe box right now. The lemon juice and zest, mixed with the spicy fresh ginger and the mellow garlic make an amazing combination. One of the other great things about this recipe is that you can change it to suit your taste- more ginger, less garlic, cheese or no cheese, add chicken or grilled tofu- whatever you like. Also, it's just as delicious when it's fresh as it is a day or two later cold out of the fridge.

You'll need:
1-2 T. fresh ginger, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
1 box tri-color rotini pasta, OR whatever pasta you like
2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Cooked peas OR broccoli OR asparagus OR your favorite veggie
Fresh green onion, chopped
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

To Prepare:
In a large pot, cook pasta. Meanwhile, chop ginger & garlic. Place in a large bowl with lemon zest. Cook whatever veggies you plan to use. (I prefer blanching broccoli or asparagus so that it is still crisp.) Add cooked pasta and veggies to the bowl with the ginger, garlic & lemon zest. Pour 2-3 T. olive oil and the lemon juice on top and toss all ingredients together. Sprinkle the green onion and Parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately OR refrigerate and serve cold. Yum!

I promise this salad will NOT disappoint. Let me know if you try it. Also, let me know what your favorite lemon recipe is- I'd love to try it!

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