Friday, May 23, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

I'm not usually a pasta salad fan. I love pasta, I eat salad, but they don't go together in my mind. I must admit, however, that I am a complete and total sucker for beautiful food. Fresh, colorful vegetables, creamy mozzarella, tangy, red vinaigrette? Yes, please. I'm so ready for the vibrant, pretty food of summer--this pasta salad is my way to kick off the season. This isn't the traditional, Italian dressing laden pasta salad that most of us probably grew up with. This salad is more about the vegetables for me and less about the dressing.

16 oz. short pasta (I used Gigli or Campanelle), cooked al dente and drained
16 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
8-12 oz. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into pieces
8-10 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, quartered then sliced thickly
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Olive oil
2 jarred roasted red peppers, sliced
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. good quality red wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt/pepper (use a generous pinch of salt)
1/2-1 tsp. brown mustard (whole grain or spicy brown)
Handful of fresh, chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Toss prepared vegetables (mushrooms, fresh asparagus, grape tomatoes, red onion, artichoke hearts) with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast approximately 20 minutes, depending on the size of your dice/slices
Cook pasta according to package directions in well-salted water, drain
Combine 1/2 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. vinegar, shallot, sugar, salt/pepper to taste, mustard, parsley in a mason jar. Shake until well-combined
Toss roasted vegetables, red peppers, pasta, and vinaigrette
Once salad has cooled to room temperature, stir in cubed mozzarella
Eat at room temperature or allow to chill

I ate this salad two meals a day for three straight days, and it just got better each day. This recipe could easily be modified according to your tastes; use the vegetables that look best at your market. Be creative and enjoy!

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