Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pasta Salad - Mozz, Spinach & Olives.. (& some technical difficulties)

I've been having some technical difficulties due to my camera suddenly “vanishing” from my computer desk. While the hunt continues (or rather, the wait for an upgrade to be purchased *winkwink husband*), I won't be trying out anything particularly challenging or new but rather just yummy simple things to share.

I am subscribed to Chowhound's Recipe of the Day and when I received one in my inbox about a pasta salad calling for fresh mozzarella, I knew I had to make it (my husband and I being the fresh mozz fiends that we are).

I didn't plan this entry very well. Heck, I only found my old powershot and an old SD card when I was in the middle of making it so again, excuse the lameness.

Now, the recipe basically only calls for spinach, mozz, pasta and olives. Kalamata olives at that, which I don't normally care for but I think are growing on me. However, due to the husband's limited tolerance for olives in general, I bought black Spanish olives (which I mistakenly bought whole, and being that I don't yet own a pitter I had to dice each one 6 slices at a time. Very annoying. Very reminiscent of classical french class where we were forced to do a number of such mundane tasks. Tourne anyone??).

I also thought that tomatoes would be a nice addition to this salad, but upon slicing up cherry tomatoes, whose innards were still green, I lamented that I should have replenished my sun-dried tomato stores in the pantry and have added some of those instead.

So tomato and olive debacle aside, and scorned lack of wine vinegar (I instead used a mix of balsamic and rice vinegar to make the vinaigrette /shockface) I daresay a refreshing pasta salad this still made.

And forgive my lazy chopping of the spinach. Not the pretty chiffonade it should have been, just trying desperately to get dinner on the table after realizing I was more late on serving it than I thought.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

1 pound orecchiette or conchiglie pasta
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and cut into small dice
3 ounces baby spinach (about 4 cups), thoroughly washed and dried
1 1/2 cups pitted and halved kalamata olives
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil

* Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to the package directions, or until al dente. Drain, then rinse under cold water until cool.
* Transfer pasta to a large bowl and add mozzarella, spinach, olives, and Parmesan. Toss to combine.
* In a separate, nonreactive bowl, combine vinegar, salt, and pepper. While whisking constantly, slowly add oil by pouring in a thin stream down the side of the bowl. Whisk until completely incorporated.
Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss until pasta is coated. Taste, adjust seasoning as desired, and serve.

What “chiffonade” means for those wondering