Thursday, August 14, 2014

There's still time for summery pasta salads!

There is precious little of summer--and my summer break--left, but I am trying to relish every last minute of it! I have been hanging at home, organizing lots of long-neglected home repair projects. While I wait for handymen and contractors to come, I try to tend to some inside projects as well. In fact, it's only 1:30pm, and I already had dinner ready!

I made this shrimp pasta salad, adapting a recipe from Cooking Light. Before serving, I will throw some little cocktail or cherry tomatoes in there for some much-needed color and a little extra flavor. But I already tasted it, and it's YUM! I think I will make a second batch for some friends who are going through some difficult medical treatments right now. This is a perfect dish to share with friends and neighbors, because it can be served warm, room temperature, or cold.

Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp
(Source: adapted from Cooking Light)

3 cups uncooked farfalle (I used multi-grain rotini)
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I used the whole can, so about 2C)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used 2T)
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (or 1T!)
2 tablespoons chopped capers (I didn't have any, so I swapped out a little minced pickled jalapeno slices)
1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon seafood or Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach (I doubled this)
1/4 cup minced red onion (I used a sweet onion)

*I also added 2 tablespoons each of chopped fresh basil, finely-shredded Grana Padano cheese (or any hard cheese of your choice), and pine nuts. Oh, and like I said, a chopped-up tomato would not be wrong in this.

Boil the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and cool to warm. Toss the drained beans in there as well.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, minced jalapeno (if using capers, add those at the end), olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss the warm pasta and beans with the dressing.

In a skillet over medium, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Toss the shrimp with the seafood or Cajun seasoning ad the lemon pepper. Sauté for about a minute on each side and remove from heat. Add the shrimp (scraping the goodness from the pan) into the pasta and bean mixture. Stir in the chopped spinach, onion, basil, shredded cheese, and pine nuts. Serve immediately for a warm salad, or make a day ahead and chill.

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