Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cold Pasta

Salads are great when you're camping. Easy, quick and cool, a salad can help balance out a grilled entree. This cold pasta dish goes with everything. It can be prepared ahead or semi-prepared for optimum freshness.

cooked, rinsed, drained pasta (rotelle or other shape)
1/4 cup olive oil
cracked black pepper
roasted red peppers
blanched asparagus (cut into 2-inch slices)
blanched carrots (cut into thin circles)
2 Tblsp dried tomatoes in olive oil (preserve 2-Tblsp of this oil)
2-Tblsp balsamic vinegar
sliced pepperocini (diced & minced)
pinch chili pepper flakes
fresh cherry tomatoes (cut in half & drained)
thin sliced red onion
crushed kalamata olives (pitted & crushed by hand)
1/4 cup sliced Italian parsley (flat leaf)

sub brocolli for asparagus
add cubed mozarella
sub jicama for carrot
add roasted sliced chicken
add roasted shrimp

Drain pasta well until dry. Rub crushed garlic over the entire interior of a large shallow bowl. Add half of the olive oil to the bowl. Add salt and pepper. Mix well. Add chopped roasted red peppers, asparagus and carrots. Take two folks and shred the dried tomatoes into small pieces in another small bowl. Add to main bowl. Add pepperocini. Add pasta. Add rest of olive oil along with the tomato olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss with chili flakes. Add cherry tomatoes, kalamata olive, red onion and Italian parsley. Let stand refrigerated for at least one hour.

You can pack this entire dish into a zip lock baggie and serve when you're ready. Or have all ingredients ready to add to your pasta if you are cooking pasta outdoors. Just give the pasta enough time to cool down and drain well. You want the flavors to penetrate the pasta for optimum flavor. (Here's how I prepare for the dish. I pack my cold pasta in a large tupperware bowl. Then I have the oils, spices and dried tomatoes in one small ziplock baggie. Then I have another baggie filled with the red peppers, asparagus and carrots. I keep the cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, sliced red onion and parsley ready to cut up. Then I assemble right before serving.)

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