Thursday, April 1, 2010
NIGELLA COOKALONG 10
Every month on the Nigella Lawson website there is a "cookalong" whereby one member nominates a recipe for everyone to try, then at the end of the month everyone who has tried it posts their thoughts, tweaks etc.
This months dish was "pasta salad primavera" - I'm really glad the this dish was nominated, as it had never jumped out at me as one to try. Firstly orzo pasta is hard to source (and I'm not big on pasta salads), secondly shelling all those broad beans didn't appeal and finally I thought that all those peas and beans might be a bit "samey".
Of course I need not have worried, the fact that the pasta is so tiny negated my pasta salad aversion, there was absolutely no stodginess. The garlic and lemon zest somehow made all the different types of peas and beans zing.
The original recipe called for 500g of pasta which I knew would be way too much (there is no way I could sell pasta salad to the rest of the family in this cold weather!!) so I went with half portions, I also changed some of the vegetables to suit what was fresh or available in the freezer.
I would recommend this salad (the original recipe can be found on Nigella.com) but feel that it would be more appropriate to summer weather. I'm not sure that I would bother with the broad beans again, particularly if I was using this salad for a party, the shelling of that amount of beans would be very time consuming - if life is too short to stuff a mushroom, it's certainly too short to shell kilos of broad beans!!!
Another plus for this salad is that it can be made well in advance, which is unusual with salads. I ate it for lunch the day after I made it - I just added some broccoli and spinach (from the previous night's dinner) - it was delicious.
My version of:
Pasta Salad Primavera
250g orzo (puntarelle) pasta
250g fine asparagus (cut into bite sized pieces)
250g broad beans (I used frozen)
100g soya beans (frozen)
100g fine beans (frozen)(cut into bite sized pieces)
100g snow peas (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 lemon. Juice and Zest.
1 pkt chives - chopped
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. When cooked drain and stir the olive oil, grated garlic and lemon zest through.
Cook the fresh vegetables one at a time until cooked through but with some bite. When cooked refresh in ice cold water.
Plung the frozen vegetables in boiling water to defrost, then shell the broad beans (or cook then shell if using fresh)
Drain all the cooked beans and peas and add to the pasta. Dress with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add extra olive oil if needed.
Of course alter the vegetables to your taste, I would stay with all green though.