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Making the Dreamy Pasta Salad

My recipe for the ARe Passionate Cooks eCookbook is called the Dreamy Pasta Salad. Remember, you can order it by clicking the link below:



If you want to read a little short story featuring Brad and Scott from Blue Moon you can check out my blog in the ARe Cafe, My Dreamy Pasta Salad is Born.

Today, I'm going to take you through a step by step guide on how to make it, complete with pictures. The pictures are thumbnails, so click them to enlarge if you desire.

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First step, gather all your ingredients together. I won't repeat the recipe here because you should download the book ;) It calls for feta cheese. You see pictured here plain feta cheese, because unfortunately my favorite market doesn't carry the sun-dried tomato/basil variety. If you can get that though, you should, it just adds an extra punch of flavor. Also, I buy the walnuts already chopped, but you can easily chop the walnuts with a knife.

The salad calls for bell pepper and tomato. I like to use heirloom tomatoes because they have such a great flavor. This time there was a red one, but many times the heirlooms are green or yellow. In any case, I try to make sure there's a mixture of colors, so I opted for a yellow bell pepper. The yellow and red peppers tend to have a milder flavor.

I like olive oil with white balsamic vinegar for the dressing, but really white wine vinegar would also work.

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I put the walnuts in to roast first, spread out on a sheet tray. I keep checking back on them, but really, once you smell them, you know they're ready to take out of the oven to cool.

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Of course, you can chop these items in any order, but I started with the tomatoes. I try to cut them in fairly small pieces. Heirlooms have smaller seed pockets and more meat, one of the reasons why I like them so much. If you're using regular tomatoes, you can seed them first if you desire.

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Next I chopped up the bell pepper. I sliced it down the middle then pulled out the seeds. I usually rinse out the inside of the pepper to get all the seeds out. I julienne slice them, and then dice them. Again, I try to make small pieces for the salad.

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Mmmm...the walnuts are done! I leave them on the sheet to cool, but you can slide them off on to a plate if you want them to cool quicker.

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Kalamata olives! I bought these already pitted, so it was just a matter of slicing them in half. If you buy them with the pit, just put them on the cutting board and press down with your palm, the pit comes out, and then it's just a matter of rough chopping.

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Next comes the basil. In the recipe I mention to cut them chiffonade style. So, take them and after rinsing them with cool water, stack them up. Roll them up like a cigar, then make cut it in slices. The second picture shows what they look like when you unroll them. I also saved a little cluster of leaves to put on the top as a decoration.

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Yes...I am *that* person who does the mise en place. So, there you have it, all the ingredients ready to go.

Before I started anything, I put the farfalle pasta on to boil, and now it's ready. While true Italian chefs do not rinse their pasta, I do rinse this, for two reasons. First, if you don't rinse it the noodles will stick together. Second reason, it cools it off quickly.

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Once the pasta is cooled, I put it into a bowl. You can put it into a large mixing bowl to mix it all together before putting it into the serving bowl, but I mixed it right in the same bowl I served it in. Pasta goes in first, then all the rest of the ingredients get dumped in. Toss gently.

In the recipe I describe making a vinaigrette. To be honest, I made this whole salad up one night while we were watching the movie J'en Suis (as described in the story I posted at the ARe Cafe)...and I didn't make a vinaigrette that night. Instead, I poured olive oil and vinegar on the salad in what I judge to be the "right amounts." If you are a confident chef, you can do that instead of going to all the trouble of making a dressing.

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The finished product! It makes a lot, so it's a good option for a pot luck.

I mentioned trying it with a baguette, so here's a final shot:

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Hopefully you'll try making it some day. If you do, please let me know! You can leave a comment here, or email me! ( rowenasudbury {at} gmail.com )

Bon appetit!

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
knowmefirst
Oct. 11th, 2012 06:36 am (UTC)
Damn, now my tummy is hungry :D
rowenasudbury
Oct. 11th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
:)

Make the salad then!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )