Friday, July 23, 2010

Summery Italian Pasta Salad

So I just started the book Eat, Pray, Love. And I'm fully standing by my previous statement, that all books come to me at the PERFECT time in my life. This one is speaking to me in ways I couldn't have imagined.

Anyway I'm currently reading the part about her stay in Italy. Numerous times she talks about the simplicity and deliciousness of the dishes she has there. And while unfortunately shes not vegan ( and even more unfortunately, she talks of eating veal on more than one occasion) It inspired me to throw a few things together and create a simple, easy, summer Italian Pasta Dish.

Summery Italian Pasta Salad
1/2 Box Pasta of your choice - I used Cavatappi
1/2 red onion chopped
1 zucchini chopped
1/2 bunch of scallions chopped
6 oz chopped mushrooms
4 oz kalamatta olives chopped and drained ( if using jarred)
3 Tablespoons olive oil - plus more for tossing the salad
2 Teaspoons basil (fresh or dried will work) or more to taste
2 Teaspoons oregano - or more to taste
salt and pepper to taste
juice of half a lemon
1 bag of baby or regular spinach

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.

Heat olive oil in skillet. Once heated add mushrooms and onion. Saute for 5 minutes or until mushrooms and onions are slightly tender, then add zucchini, season with salt and pepper and basil to taste and saute for an addition few minutes or until all veggies are softer, but still have a slight crisp.

Remove veggies from skillet, place into large bowl and put in the fridge until they are chilled. (usually around 20 minutes) Once they are chilled toss cooked pasta with veggie mixture, and add the olives. Next add the lemon juice, oregano and more salt, pepper and basil if desired. Add another splash of olive oil and toss till well mixed.

Serve on top of spinach and top off with a few chopped scallions.

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