Fresh Pasta Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

Pasta and Broccoli with Asian Peanut DressingBroccoli was on sale this past week, so I decided to pick up a head of it. As I cleaned the broccoli, I thought of what I was going to do with it. I first thought of a simple steam, then a sautee with fresh garlic and oyster sauce. Ok, I admit, I was thinking of an Asian flavored dish, as well as my wife. What would she like? Pasta! My wife loves pasta, so here I had pasta and broccoli. Thinking that my kids would not go near broccoli, I soon realized I could do whatever I wanted. A mixed pasta with a peanut dressing. The dressing is so delicious; a mix of peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, chili flakes, and soy sauce? Come on, lets get started.

This dish is family style, so if anyone has peanut allergies, probably not the best to have around the table, especially with the little ones.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box of medium shell pasta
  • 1/4 box small macaroni pasta
  • 1/4 cup of course salt
  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed and cleaned. Trim the heads, with about an inch of the stalk into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (hold back for less heat)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • salted peanuts, rough chopped, toasted on the stove

Begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once it begins to boil, add the course salt. As with any pasta, you want the pasta water to taste like the sea or ocean, salty. Add in the pastas, and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet and bring to temperature. Add the broccoli, chili flakes, and 1/2 cup of water. Cover this up and let this cook on medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes. Remove the cover, and cook for another couple of minutes. The goal is to not overcook the broccoli.

Once you are ready, get a large bowl ready. To this bowl, add in the vinegar, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of oil, and peanut butter. Whisk this until you have a nice smooth dressing.

To a small skillet, toss in the salted peanuts, and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. This will begin to roast the peanuts, and bring out some of the oils.

To the bowl, add in the cooled pasta, top with the broccoli, add in the peanuts, and give this several tosses, coating all of your items in the bowl.

Serve from the bowl, or add to a nice family-style platter. This is great both at room temperatures as well as chilled. The great thing about this dish is that you get all kinds of great flavors, from the chili flakes, to the creaminess of the peanut butter, the saltiness from the soy, and the tartness from the vinegar. A real treat for your palette.



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