I made up one of my mom’s favourite suppers last night, nicknamed Welfare Supper because it’s a really cheap, quick and hearty dinner. I ended up with a ton of extra pasta left over. I never know how much pasta is a serving, so I usually just dump the whole box in there. I saw a neat pasta measurer that looks like a block of swiss cheese that portions out spaghetti into between one and four portions — I need one of those badly! I can’t remember where I saw it or I’d provide a link. Hopefully I do and can come back with an edit.
Anyway, I decided that my left over elbow macaroni would make a fabulous pasta salad, but I wanted to keep it as light as possible. Enter, my favourite recipe book ever, Salad Dressings by Jessica Strand. I usually don’t have all the ingredients in the book, and today was no exception, but I was able to improvise. I also find Strand’s portions are gigantic, so I usually take the recipe down and do a quarter of the olive oil.
I whipped up a Roasted Shallot Viniagrette with a couple changes and came up with a really tasty dressing. The directions and most of this are taken from Strand’s dressing, but I made a few changes to make it my own. I seriously love this book though, do check it out, it’s worth the purchase!
Roasted Shallot Pasta Salad
Preheat oven to 425.
1 large shallot
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chop the ends off your shallot and peal the papery skin off. Chop the ends off the garlic, but leave the skin on. In a small bowl, combine the first four ingredients to coat. Wrap the shallot and garlic in foil tightly, and put inside a baking dish to catch any oil that leaks out. Roast for 45 minutes, enjoy the tasty, tasty smells. Allow to cool before continuing with vinaigrette.
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp dried or fresh parsley (I only had dried on hand, it worked great.)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the six ingredients in a blender or Magic Bullet (which is what I have). Add your roasted shallot. Remove skin from roasted garlic and add to blender. Blend until all ingredients become creamy and slightly yellow. Taste and increase seasoning to taste. Allow dressing to sit for several hours before serving. I left it out for a few hours, then moved it to the fridge.
For the salad:
Chilled, cooked pasta, elbow, farfalle or whatever you like.
Red Onion, finely diced
Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
Steamed green beans, cooled and cut into inch or so strips
1/2 red, yellow or orange bell pepper
Pistachios or pepitas
Note: Giada De Laurentiis recommends in her book, Everyday Pasta, rinsing freshly cooked pasta with water to clean off the starch and prevent your pasta from sticking together if you plan on using it for a cold pasta salad. I didn’t and found no problem, but it may have been the brand I used.
Combine the dressing and salad ingredients in a large bowl and serve chilled. Yum yum! I love that the roasted shallot and garlic make you think this is a cream dressing packed with mayonnaise, but it’s not. I served this with sole fillets with lemon and dill poached in parchment.