Lemony Bowtie Pasta Salad with Summer Veggies and Bocconcini

Excuse my language – or at least empathize with it; I live in a trailer park, remember – it is f*cking hot here in the Okanagan right now. To anyone who has lived in the area for longer than a year I’m likely stating the obvious, but as a recent Vancouver ex-pat, where temperatures in the summer rarely exceed the mid-20s, this is a seriously newsworthy issue. The heat here is dry, searing and desert-like, bringing to mind cacti and deeply creviced cowboy skin – a heat very different from, yet much more bearable than, the energy-sapping, hairdo-sabotaging, humid kind (which almost never fails to make an appearance without its best pal, smog) standard in parts of the country further East (ya Toronto, I’m looking at you).

The thought of preparing an elaborate meal on a day as hot as this – well, that’s just pure crazy talk, right?  So pasta salad it is. But not the monochromatic, mayonnaise-laden variety available in the deli section at the grocery store. Hell no. That stuff  just screams ‘food poisoning,’ especially after it’s been sitting in the sun for any length of time. The recipe offered here falls on the refreshing, crunchy and colourful end of the pasta salad spectrum (if such a thing exists!) and trumps its deli section counterpart with its light, lemony dressing. Sure you have to turn on the stove to make a portion of the recipe – a tall order on a hot day, I know – but only for a few minutes and the results are well worth the sweat. If you’re looking to round out your meal with a nice summery dessert, I’d recommend whipping up Ezra Poundcake’s smooth, cool and awesomely delish Peanut Butter Icebox Pie.

For this pasta salad I pretty much used what I had available in the fridge, but if you want to make it even more of a party in a bowl – think your boss drinking too much at a staff function and ending up with the proverbial lampshade on his head – go ahead and throw in any or all of the following:

  • quartered artichoke hearts
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • ribbons of fresh basil
  • sliced radishes

Recipe: Lemony Bowtie Pasta Salad with Summer Veggies and Bocconcini

Makes about 6 side servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and rind of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 225g farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup sweet peas, fresh or frozen
  • 10-12 green beans, cut into thirds
  • 8 pieces cherry bocconcini, quartered

Method:

In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for another few minutes, until fragrant and golden brown. Be careful not to let garlic burn. Remove onion and garlic from heat and set aside to cool.

Place green beans, sweet peas and corn in a vegetable steamer over boiling water and steam until tender crisp. Transfer steamed vegetables to an ice water bath for 1 minute then drain and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package instructions, or until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and rind, coriander, salt and pepper. Add in sauteed onion and garlic (once cooled), pasta, green beans, sweet peas, corn, red pepper and bocconcini. Gently fold together all ingredients, add an extra drizzle of olive oil if desired, and serve!

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