Hope you guys are all enjoying your last days of summer! I've really enjoyed all the fresh fruit and great produce but I'm looking forward to my favourite season, fall.
I love pasta salads so I thought I'd try out this French pasta salad to bring to my mom's for dinner. It's a pasta salad with asparagus (I'll miss you!), roasted red peppers, toasted hazelnuts, feta, capers, parsley, and an herb Dijon dressing. While it wasn't the perfect salad, I liked it and think it could be really great with some modifications. Less pasta, more asparagus (and/or green beans). More roasted red peppers, parsley, hazelnuts and capers. More Dijon mustard in the dressing. I really like my grain salads and pastas heavy on the vegetables so I usually reduce the amount of grain and up the vegetables, but didn't do that this time.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
Tarragon Pecan Asparagus
Mediterranean Pepper Salad
Portobello Salad with Mustard Dressing
French Pasta Salad
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special
Note: I made this again recently (May 2010) and changed some things - it was much better. I used 3/4 lb pasta, 2 cups of chickpeas (new addition), 2 shallots instead of 1, 2 tbsp oil, 3 tbsp Dijon (was too strong on the first day but good on following days), 1 jar of roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 3/4 cup walnuts (instead of 1/3 cup hazelnuts), and 2 tbsp capers.
1 pound whole wheat penne or ziti or rotini or fusilli
3 cups asparagus, woody ends broken off and sliced into 1 1/2" pieces
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried basil
1 large shallot, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2/3 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 tbsp drained capers
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 lb)
Toast the nuts for about 10 minutes in a 325F oven, then rub them briskly with a towel to remove the skins.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta for about 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander, rinse well with cool water, and set aside to drain again.
Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus in boiling water to cover for about 3 minutes, or until just tender. Drain them and run them under cold water, and set aside. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.
Combine the pasta, asparagus, and roasted red peppers in a large serving bowl and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle on the parsley, hazelnuts, and capers and crumbled feta cheese. Toss to combine.
Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Note: If you're making this ahead of time I would wait to put the dressing on because it soaks into the pasta and doesn't seem as strong.