Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spring Pasta Salad with Balsamic-Yogurt Dressing

As I was putting lunch together today, Sous Chef Brian said, "This'll be a great post celebrating the new spring veg!" And I thought, yeah, if every other post hadn't already been that.  I mean, new spring veg are VERY exciting, but really, there's a limit.  Plus, I've failed on the veg a bit - I got those gorgeous peas in our first CSA haul and I thought I'd use them in this dish, but they didn't make it.  Turns out peas are "urgent" and you should pretty much just eat them as soon as they show up. 

But it's still exciting, since these are my first tomatoes of the year and we've eaten them in everything over the past few days, and while asparagus and radishes aren't brand new, they're still a welcome treat, so yay, spring veg!  

This is pasta salad, so of course, you can make it with whatever you get at your local market that week, it doesn't need to follow a recipe.  I used yogurt to make the dressing creamier and pretty much relied on the veg themselves for flavor, with a bit of cheese and some basil. 

I set my pasta water to boil and set my asparagus to steam on top.  

Then just started chopping the rest of the veggies.  Nothing else needs to cook.  In this case I used three radishes for a bit of pepperiness, 

and a small red onion.

Two smallish tomatoes, somewhat seeded.  Cherry tomatoes would be great here. 

Two ounces of parmesan, cut tiny.  This photo does not show how small the parmesan is.  If it were another cheese, I'd make bigger cubes, but with parm, I don't quite want it shredded but just a size above that. 

I had six ounces of plain yogurt

and added a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar to it.  

Then I stirred in a good bit of fresh basil.  Six big leaves, hit with the kitchen shears. 

Once the pasta was done, and this is about 8oz of whole wheat shells, I rinsed it in cool water and drained it well.  

After that it's just about stirring and chilling.  Give the salad at least have an hour in the fridge to come together. 

It's creamy and sweet and a little bit tangy.  If you want to go a step further, add capers or chopped olives.  Sous Chef Brian disapproves, but we can do what we like in our own bowls. 

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