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SUMMER SIX: PANTRY PASTA SALADS

We often turn to Emily Lycopolus' OLIVE OIL & VINEGAR LOVER'S COOKBOOK for basic recipes. This week we're featuring six pasta salads that will take you through summer, whether picnic or patio. All of them start with Emily's simple dressing, a variety of pasta shapes and sizes cooked according to package directions and a wonderful assortment of fresh farm ingredients.

BASIC PASTA SALAD DRESSING

1/2 cup infused olive oil & 1/4 cup dark or white balsamic
1 tsp Dijon mustard (or similar)
1 tbsp honey or 1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 small shallot, minced (optional)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt or to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper or to taste

Whisk all ingredients except the olive oil until completely blended.  Then slowly pour in olive oil and mix well until creamy. Note: It's easy to make more, just double the recipe.

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SPICY MEXICAN SALAD WITH CORN AND BEANS

Cook spiral pasta (Fusilli works) according to package directions. Prepare dressing with Mango white balsamic and Chipotle olive oil. For less heat, replace 1/2 Chipotle with fresh olive oil. In a large bowl, add thinly sliced red onions, 1/2 can black beans (rinsed) 1 cup frozen corn (thawed), 1 cup chopped red and green peppers. Pour dressing in bowl and combine. Add cooled pasta and blend until all pasta is covered with dressing. 

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SPAGHETTI PASTA SALAD

Prepare pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, add Emily's dressing ingredients and your choice of sweet peppers (chopped), tomatoes (seeded and chopped) and Traditional dark balsamic. Blend well. Then gently pour in Tuscan Herb and Basil olive oils in a 1:1 ratio. Mix well with other ingredients. Add pasta and tossed until pasta is completely covered. 

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CAVATAPPI (TWISTED) PASTA SALAD WITH PESTO

Prepare pasta according to package directions, then cool. This salad departs from our basic dressing. Simple replace oil and balsamic with the same amount of pesto, either store bought or our homemade recipe. It helps to thin it out with one tbsp of amount of our fresh olive oil, and a tbsp of Sicilian Lemon white balsamic. Add to prepared pasta. 

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STRAWBERRY, ARUGULA & GOAT CHEESE FUSILLI SALAD

Prepare fresh or frozen fusilli according to pack directions. Then cool. In a large bowl prepare Emily's dressing with Persian Lime olive oil and Black Mission Fig Balsamic. Add fresh strawberries, halved, fresh arugula and crumbled goat cheese. Blend well. Add prepared and cooled fusilli pasta and toss until pasta is covered with dressing.  

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TORTELLINI PASTA SALAD WITH OLIVES

Prepare fresh or frozen Tortellini according to pack directions. Then cool. In a large bowl prepare dressing with Wild Mushroom olive oil and Black Mission Fig Balsamic. Add chopped black olives (fresh & pitted) sweet red peppers (chopped), and fresh Italian parsley (chopped). Blend well. Add prepared and cooled Tortellini pasta and toss until pasta is covered with dressing. 

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 CONCHIGLIE (SHELL) PASTA SALAD WITH BEETS & GREENS

Cook Conchiglie (shell) pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, prepare dressing using Gremolata olive oil and Pomegranate Quince white balsamic. Add cooked, skins-removed sliced beets, arugula, chopped walnuts and crumbled feta cheese.  Mix well. Add cooled pasta. Combine with dressing until pasta is completely covered with dressing.