Saturday 27 April 2013

Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Robin's Eggs

While playing out in the greenhouse today, I decided to clean up some of the many bird nests that gathered over the past few years as the previous owners did not make use of it.  And that's when I found this:

Oh god, I didn't know it was occupied!!  I put it back in its place, but the nest was obviously disturbed and I hope I didn't just sign their death warrant by having their mama avoid them now (because if they are going to die, I could have just poached them and be done with it - geez, I'm kidding already).

As I mentioned in my Vinaigrette post, I had been planning to make a pasta salad, and I did just that today.  It was a busy day.  My dad, visiting from BC, was put to work around the house and was able to solve my external water problem (see Post: April 8), installed a kitty door for Sugar Ray and has potentially identified a solution for the lack of electricity in the greenhouse.  Needless to say, I was so busy hanging around while he worked, I barely managed to get this salad made up.

I like this pasta salad best when served around room temperature; I don't like ANY pasta salad cold and I have never had a mayonnaise-style pasta salad that I liked!

2 cups dry penne pasta
1 large (or 2 small) red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
5-6 sundried tomatoes, chopped
8-10 black olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup vinaigrette
1/3 cup sheep's milk feta cheese

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water.  Ensure all other ingredients are prepped before pasta is cooked.   Place onions, pepper, sundried tomatoes and olives in a bowl.  When pasta is ready, quickly drain and add to ingredients in bowl, and give a quick toss.  The hot pasta should slightly wilt the ingredients in the bowl.  Add the vinaigrette while the pasta is still hot so that it can soak up some of the flavour.  Crumble the feta cheese over top then toss again to ensure the pasta salad is evenly mixed.

The vinaigrette is also great tossed with warm boiled potatoes (Nicoise Salad anyone?).  And the entire recipe works well with quinoa instead of the penne pasta, although the ingredient amounts might require some adjustment.  All photos courtesy of my dad, including these nifty shots while he and his wife were tootling* around Ottawa earlier this week. 

*I did not make this word up (definition courtesy of The Free Dictionary):

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