Spring Pasta Salad

spring pasta salad

Here’s a pasta salad that features all the flavors of spring including fresh asparagus, baby zucchini, arugula, artichoke hearts, colorful cherry tomatoes, peas and fresh herbs. It’s light, healthy and just perfect for spring!

You can enjoy this spring pasta salad as a main dish by maybe adding some grilled shrimp to it or as a side dish for any party you might be having. Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this would be a nice option for a salad.
farfalloni pasta What really inspired me for this salad was this pasta shape that I found called farfalloni, it reminded me of fluttering butterfies, so cute with the rounded edges. I actually found this at my local HomeGoods store in their gourmet food section.

Years ago I did another spring inspired pasta salad with this pasta shape that I found there as well.

farfalloni pasta The key to a good pasta salad is to make sure your pasta isn’t overcooked, you don’t want it to be soft and mushy, it has to have a nice bite to it so it can hold up to all the veggies that you’re adding. My advice is to start testing it two minutes before the suggested cooking time, you’ll be the best judge by giving it a taste test.

spring pasta salad I’m going to be giving you approximate amounts because when making a pasta salad I always add more or less of something according to my likes and according to how it looks on my platter.

spring pasta salad

You’re zucchini ribbons will soften and bend once the dressing is applied so you can easily intertwine them throughout the pasta salad for an pretty and elegant look.

Spring is here, enjoy!

You can follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what I’m cooking up, I usually post something daily.

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Spring Pasta Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 8 oz. of cooked farfalloni pasta, (or farfalle pasta better known as bow ties or butterflies) being careful not to overcook it, once cooked cool it off with cold water then place onto a rimmed cookie sheet so that you can dab any excess water that might fall into the pasta "wings" with a paper towel
  • ½ jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • ¼ bag of defrosted peas
  • 2 cups of sliced multi colored cherry tomatoes prepped for ten minutes in a good drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped basil so that the tomato juices and olive oil mingle together
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ( I prefer a more medium tip not the pencil thin ones) sliced in thirds and pre roasted or blanched for just a few minutes, cooked al'dente with still a bite to it
  • zucchini ribbons done with a vegetable peeler, turning it while peeling it being careful not to reach the seeds. ( use small zucchini)
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of arugula, depending on your liking
  • fresh basil and parsley
  • DRESSING:
  • 1 part white balsamic vinegar to 3 parts olive oil with a touch of dijon mustard to thicken it up, just whisk everything together adding salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Take a big bowl and place all your ingredients into it, spooning the dressing in little by little and adding salt and pepper to taste and being nice and gentle tossing it.
  2. Then place it all onto a pretty platter adding more zucchini ribbons, peas, artichoke hearts or whatever else to make it look balanced with the veggies.
  3. Spoon more dressing if needed.

 

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It’s Fava Bean Season!

Beautiful and plump fava beans are showing up all over in our produce markets. These very versatile beans are known to be the stars of the legume family and taste fantastic in salads, crostinis, pastas, risottos, stews and dips just to name a few.

Look for favas that are bright green with slightly fuzzy pods and avoid any ones that are blackened and limp.

Shucking the beans can be a little time consuming but well worth the effort once you unveil the inner glossy green bean! Here is a visual guide to show you how to do it.
Their taste has been described as a buttery texture with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor.

Methods for removing the shell vary. The most common way is to bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the beans, cook for 1 minute, then drain and plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking process. This softens the outer shell and allows you to slit open its side and force out the beautiful glossy bean.
I have other plans for these little beauties besides this awesome Spring Salad I made which consisted of the blanched favas, defrosted peas, and blanched asparagus cut on the diagonal, all tossed with arugula and shaved fontinella cheese, you could also use parmesan or pecorino as well. The dressing was made with fresh lemon and olive oil that went perfectly with all the vegetables.

I served the salad along side this Asparagus and Ricotta Tart for a meatless meal we had during the week. I had leftover blanched asparagus from my salad so I put them to good use and made this.

I lined a 9 inch tart pan with a store bought pie dough which was fast an easy.
In a bowl mix 1 1/2 cups of ricotta
2 large eggs
1 crushed garlic clove
Zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of grated parmesan
Whip until smooth and incorporated and then pour mixture into your pie shell.

Arrange your asparagus on top and sink them into the ricotta. I blanched the asparagus for 3 minutes in boiling water which was then plunged into ice water, thoroughly drained and patted dry. Sprinkle with more cheese and a drizzle of olive oil on top.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until crust is golden and ricotta is set.
Have a great week and Buon Appetito!
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