I'm not the kind of person to spend a lot of time on the presentation of food, though I think people who do make that effort make the food and photos look so amazing (such as La Tartine Gourmande who often shares food styling tips as well). I'm more the kind of person that wants to mix everything up and just eat it. I'm known for cutting all of my food up into bite size pieces and stirring it all up together. I've done that with many burgers (veggie burgers of course) and with sandwiches that are impossible to eat like regular sandwiches. It's just easier to eat that way and I want a bite of everything each time! So, yes sometimes I feel self conscious about the presentation of my dishes, especially after looking at many beautiful photos on people's blogs. But that's only sometimes. Most of the time it doesn't bother me because I'm just worried about it tasting delicious and I like to tell myself there is a home cooked/baked feel with the way I present food.
As I was writing this post, I realized how many things I've been making from the Rebar cookbook. I guess I'm trying to take advantage of the time that I have now (since many Rebar recipes take a while to make) before I start my very time consuming program in September. Anyway, I've never really made an elaborate pasta salad before so I thought I'd try out the recipe for Santa Fe pasta salad. It was easy to make, and I thought it tasted good but my boyfriend extremely loved it and also discovered how delicious grape tomatoes are. Being a pasta salad, I ate it cold but I think it would taste good hot as well.
I'm sending this to Ruth for her weekly presto pasta night roundup!
Santa Fe Pasta Salad
(adapted from Rebar)
2 red peppers, roasted
4 cloves garlic, roasted
2 tsp chipotle puree (take a can of chipotle peppers and puree it)
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
3/4 cup olive oil (Ashley note: I made this again recently and you can easily use only 1/4-1/3 cup.)
4 cups dry fusilli pasta
3 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp minced sage or 3 tsp dried sage*
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. Begin by preparing the dressing. Seed and peel the roasted peppers. Place them, along with the garlic and chipotle puree in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add maple syrup, vinegar, lime juice, salt and blend. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until well incorporated and thickened. Set aside.
2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss corn with oil and salt and evenly spread it out in a small baking pan. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.
4. To assemble the salad, toss pasta in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Add corn, sage and green onions and toss well. Add more dressing to taste and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, garnish with grape tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and pine nuts.
*I used dried sage and added what looked like enough. I'm not sure if 3 teaspoons dried sage is really about equal to 4 tbsp fresh minced sage.
General note - the cookbook suggests adding avocado to the salad as well if you want, and I definitely agree that it would fit in perfectly here. Plus avocados are always so delicious.