Monday, May 19, 2014

Asparagus Spring Pasta Salad

So that is the scene of my dining room table and has been for about a week.  I've had 2 catering jobs to prepare for and carry out plus Noah's 1st birthday party that I'm gearing up for!  I live by lists and since I don't have a smartphone, I write everything out by hand.  I've been pouring through recipe book after recipe book for ideas, ingredient lists, and recipes to compare in order to write my own yellow cake recipe.  It's busy, but I love this stuff!  If only it could be my full-time job...

Anyway, I will show the pictures from my most recent catering gig, but instead of writing a story (it'd be pretty boring, anyway--things went smoothly) or sharing the recipes for all of the dishes, I picked one to document and will write about that.  The other recipes are either repeaters or I'm sure I will make them again and write out the recipe at that time for you all.  So here's my recipe for a spring pasta salad featuring asparagus!

Asparagus Spring Pasta Salad
The idea for this recipe came from Rachael Ray, I believe, but I don't really know what her exact measurements of ingredients were.  I made a double recipe for the luncheon, but here I will just document a "single" recipe, though it will probably feed quite a few people!  The dressing is a little more involved than just using a salad dressing or (gasp!) mayonnaise (although those pasta salads do taste wonderful) but the added effort is worth it because it makes for a healthier dressing and a flavorful salad!

1 lb Farfalle (bowtie pasta)
1 bunch asparagus
1 red pepper, sliced or chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 shallot
1/3 cup olive oil (or extra virgin)
3 TB white wine vinegar
salt, pepper

1. Wash and cut the asparagus.  You can get a good idea of where to cut the asparagus by bending a spear.  Wherever it breaks naturally, is where you should cut.  Discard the ends.  Then cut the remaining spears into thirds or fourths.
2. Boil and salt a large pot of water.  Get the pasta cooking.
3. Blanch the asparagus.  Par-boil it in a saucepan (about 2 minutes) then immediately plunge the spears into ice water to stop the cooking and "lock in" that beautiful, green color.
4. Finely chop the shallot and then get it cooking with the olive oil.  Cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.  Allow to cool.  Add in the white wine vinegar and mix.
5. Drain the pasta.  Combine the pasta, dressing, and frozen peas.  It's important to add the dressing while the pasta is hot so it can absorb some of the flavor.  Adding the peas right away will help defrost them.
6. Add the red pepper and asparagus.  Season with pepper.  Mix well.

The cookies are cooling.
Abby with an icing-covered face!

I've decided that if I'm going to go into the business of cooking and baking, I cannot lick the beaters ALL THE TIME.  Actually, like, never.  Not anymore!  But Abby still can! :)  Check out these shots of the whoopie pies I made for the luncheon.

The finished products!

Sunday's lunch:
chicken piccata
herb-roasted potatoes

There's that pasta salad!
I made a few fruit pizzas...
I loved this design I came up with and was so disappointed that it got smushed in the car!!!

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