Sharing Old Fashioned Desserts and Comfort Food, come on over to see what's baking!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer and Spring Fresh Pasta Salads

These salads were inspired by the spring and summer offerings at my local farm stands.  I love visiting farm stands in the spring and summer and getting my hands on the freshest and tastiest pickings.  In the spring I found arugula and asparagus, in the summer I found lots of colorful cherry and mini heirloom tomatoes  and found a way to make them into a fresh, delicious and colorful pasta salad.  Be creative and mix up your own variety of veggies and cheeses to your liking :)  Here's a few of my creations:

Spring Pasta Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, Marinated Mozzarella and Sundried Tomatoes, Fresh Arugula and Caesar dressing, used Gnocchi Pasta

Spring Pasta Salad with asparagus, arugula, tomatoes, mozzerella and olives
 Roasting the Aspargus
Spring:  First I roasted up 1 bunch of asparagus.  Snap off the hard ends and place standing up in a small pot of boiling water, cook for 5 minutes.  Then cut into about 1" pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Drizzle with a mixture of melted butter and olive oil, and sprinkle on to taste: garlic powder, seasoned bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper.  Roast for about 10 minutes on 400 degrees until golden and lightly crispy, tossing once half way through to distribute all the goodness.  Let cool.  1 container of ripe cherry tomatoes quarted.  Add can of drained olives if desired.
Summer:  I used 1 container of cherry tomatoes quartered and 1 pint of orange mini heirloom tomatoes whole.  
For the mozzarella balls I used the kind marinated in herbs and sundried tomatoes, cut mozzarella balls in half and cut sundried tomatoes into small pieces.
Then  wash and dry 1 bunch of arugula and chop up.  Take 2 containers of marinated mozzarella balls, setting aside the mozzarella marinade to dress the salad.  You can use 1 1lb of any pasta, I used Barilla Celentani.
Mixing in the ingredients

  Then put all these lovely ingredients into a very large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, add a few tablespoons of the marinade from the cheese and creamy Caesar dressing to taste.    Toss all together and you have these fresh pasta salads.  I love the combination of the crisp arugula greens with the soft flavorful mozzarella,  pasta,  and  tomatoes.
Asparagus, mozzarella and tomato