Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pesto/Olive/Italinish pasta salad

Today there is a picnic for the people in my building at work, and everyone is supposed to bring a dish. This is turning into an expensive lunch, since we are also asked to pay $5 for burgers, brats, fish, and sodas in addition to the side dish or dessert. They asked half of hte alphabet to bring dessert, and the other half to bring a side dish, and unfortunately I was in the side dish half. I say unfortunately because I love to bake, and could have easily whipped up a cake or cookies or somethign to bring in. But, I decided to play by the rules and actually try something new. I made a pasta salad.

I know, I know, there' s nothing that fancy about pasta salad. It really wasn't difficult, once I got through the shopping trip. I took Charlotte with me (mistake #1) to get her out of my husband's hair while he stains furniture (babies and paint thinner don't mix). I had found a recipe that involved a pesto sauce, and wrote down the ingredients, starting with 3 cups of basil. I assumed (mistake #2) that basil would be a fairly easy ingredient to buy. Unfortunately our local Schnucks seems to think that we should pay like $5 for like 2 basil leaves, and I would have spent a fortune on it. I had also seen a recipe that called for sundried tomatoes, salami, provolone, olives, and capers--all things that I, personally, do not like, but that are popular with folks in general. Since I was at the store with a wiggling, shrieking halfling at this point and had no other recipe books handy, I started collecting ingredients.

We were on the second shopping cart (Charlotte wanted to ride in the back of the regular one, and to help open the salami, so we switched to the car one), when I started walking laps around the store trying to locate sundried tomatoes. They weren't with pickles/relishes, not with pasta/italian foods, and not in the produce section. Charlotte undid her buckle and climbed out the window of her little car, Dukes of Hazard style. I asked 2 different workers, who sent me on 2 more laps back to the same sections I'd already visited. Charlotte shrieked and I ended up carrying her on a hip while pushing the cart. Finally I gave up and, remembering the packaged pesto I'd seen near the olives, decided to adjust my recipe.

I don't know if anyone will eat my pasta salad (I probably won't...again, I don't like any of the ingredients that went into it), but here's the basic recipe:

Cook 1 lb pasta (I used campanelle).
In a large bowl, whisk 2Tred wine vinegar, 1T lemon juice, 1/4c olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, Kosher salt, and ground black pepper. Add hot pasta, toss to coat, and put in the fridge to cool off.

When the pasta is cool, cut 1/2lb salami and 1/2 lb provolone to 1/4"x2" slices (give or take--bite sized pieces). Coarsely chop 1/2 cup calmatta olives. Add to pasta, along with about 1/2 jar capers (about 2-3T), and 1 carton pesto (about 8oz I think). Stir the whole mess together, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.


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