When the Herbage Grows Freely
When most people think of pasta salad they picture gobs of mayo messiness crossed with a hot and sticky summer afternoon. I did too, therefore, not regrettably stuffing my face with burgers and ‘dogs and chips and pickles at the neighborhood grill session, instead.
But ever since Kim O’Donnel blogged about her mayo-free potato salad, I thought, hey, I can absolutely do that with noodles.
My friends Jeb and Anna (and 3rd roommate Pika!) always throw incredible parties at their house in North Carolina. While 80 Proof and Jeb gossip about the latest Duke basketball recruits, Anna and I hibernate in the kitchen all day creating fantastic fare that ranges from wonderful-when-sober to I-need-to-eat-this-or-I’ll-puke.
They also managed to buy a house where rosemary bushes grow freely all year. And as you can only cook and bake with so much rosemary, Anna now slips the stems into vases around the house (above: see centerpiece of table.) Using their unlimited supply of herbage, I created my own version of a super, simple pasta salad.
Rosemary Fusilli Salad
Fusilli – or any short pasta, but I like the way rosemary clings to the swirly grooves of this noodle
Worcestershire – dashes
Fresh Rosemary – lots and lots, coarsely chopped
Lemon – just a little squirt
Garlic – minced
Shallot – minced
Dijon Mustard – do what tastes right to you
Artichoke hearts – make it easy and buy them marinating in a jar, coarsely chop
Freshly Grated Black Pepper
If you actually add enough salt in the boiling pot of water before you add the pasta, you can seriously taste the *flavor of the noodles* before it’s even dressed. It’s quite remarkable. So, be heavy handed with that salt and follow the directions for the pasta cooking time.
Drain the pasta, but do not rinse. Keep some of that starchy water on the noodles.
Douse the pasta with EVOO to keep from being a sticky mess. Complete your chopping and prepping, giving the pasta some time to cool. Add rosemary, lemon, scallions, garlic, shallot, Dijon mustard, artichoke hearts, worcestershire, some more EVOO and a generous amount of S&P.
Stir is up, taste, stir and keep tasting until you love.
And, see, I wasn’t joking about getting too drunk to take a decent food shot.
*Heat up some of the pasta for the next night’s dinner. Tear up some spinach leaves (or any other veggies close to their expiration date) and add to the pasta – microwave your way to a quick dinner. The spinach will wilt slightly and the other veggies will soften just a bit from the heat and oil from the pasta. Freshly grated parm cheese would top it off perfectly (or feta or shredded mozzarella.)
*If you like the idea of cold noodles on a hot summer night, spruce up the leftovers with a new squirt of lemon juice, couple dashes of worcestershire and S&P. You can also add raw, torn spinach. Mix all together. Quickest dinner ever.