Sunday, August 7, 2011

greens macaroni salad. (and what to do with all that pasta).

it's common blog practice to offer the occasional post on pantry staples and standbys. i think it's common practice all around to keep a pantry stocked with some items that can be pulled out in dire culinary need or moments of un-inspiration.

the problem is that i tend to like to cook with mostly fresh produce. in case you haven't noticed, the majority of recipes here revolve around a bit of vegetables, complimented by more vegetables, and finished off with some fresh herbs. all of these things don't have the longest shelf lives. and with a fridge that doesn't always close fully, their refrigerator lives are often cut tragically too short as well. so i find myself going grocery shopping quite often and only very rarely relying on the assumption that we have backup ingredients at home.

still, if i had to mention the few items you can pretty consistently find lining the pantry shelves, it would be: lentils, chickpeas, rice, flour, sugar, (cookies), an old trader joe's rice noodle bowl that i can't bear to part with, corn kernels for popping, and: pasta. 

so. much. pasta. if we bought some other staple (canned tomatoes, quinoa, more cookies!) for every time we picked up a package of pasta, i'd be the most stocked blogger this side of the atlantic. but instead, we have about 15 packages of opened pasta at any given time, and i've turned into that sad person whose favorite monthly past time may just be organizing and grouping already opened packages...

which is why the following recipe is perfect for this household, one where short noodles flow off the shelves in their various fusilli, macaroni, and farfalle forms. any and all types of noodles can be thrown together in this green, refreshing, and slightly tangy pasta salad. i enjoyed it mildly warm on a summer evening, but chilled and at an outdoor potluck would be just as delicious.

assorted greens macaroni salad:
adapted from 101 cookbooks

300 g macaroni pasta (or a mix of short pasta noodles, as seen here!)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 bunches green onions, sliced
1 leek, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
3 handfuls greens (arugula, spinach, etc)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper
10 large basil leaves, chopped roughly
1/3 cup grated parmesan, for topping

bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles according to package instructions. once al dente, reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside.

heat the olive oil in a large pan. add green onions, leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt. cook about 5 minutes, until the onions and leeks are soft and the garlic is browned. remove from heat and let cool. 

add in the pasta, tomatoes, greens, lemon, reserved pasta water, basil, and salt and pepper. at this point, you can either stir in the parmesan, or let individuals top their dishes themselves.