My wife loves pasta salads, and I think she likes everything about them. And who does not love pasta salad? I mean, you can get as creative as you want when it comes to these sorts of dishes. Meat or no meat, different types of pasta, cheeses, and vegetables. So recently I wanted to come up with a different pasta salad that incorporated some really unique flavors, and offered a whole new take on a pasta salad.
First things first. Asparagus. I really do love asparagus, especially when wrapped in bacon. So, I thought that a pasta salad, with asparagus, a simple dressing, and some lettuce would be really fresh and delicious. It proved out to be just that.
- small bunch of asparagus, stalk snapped, and spears cut into 3 inch pieces
- 3 cups of arugula, cleaned, and dried
- 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 cup of Pecorino Romano
- 2 tbsp kosher salt (for pasta water)
- ice water
Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in your asparagus and cook for about four minutes. Remove with some tongs, and place them in the ice water to prevent them from cooking any further, as well as retain their great green color.
To that same pot of boiling water, add in your capellini. Capellini is basically very thin Italian pasta. You will only cook this pasta for like 3-4 minutes as well as it is so thin. Once cooked, drain, and place inside your serving bowl.
Next get your dressing going. Roll a whole lemon on your counter to get the juices going, literally. Zest it, and slice it in half to gather all of the juice, of course being careful not to let any seeds get past you. So you have the zest and the juice sitting in a bowl. Toss in your garlic, chili flake, and olive oil, and mix well.
You are pretty much ready to go. Remove the asparagus from the ice water, and set aside. To your pasta, add the Pecorino Romano cheese, the asparagus, and the arugula. Add the dressing, and with some tongs, or a couple of forks, mix everything. You want to incorporate the dressing as best as you can, as well as the cheese.
Plate and serve.
The great thing about this pasta salad is that you get a great citrus dressing, the peppery flavor from the arugula, and the lettuce flavor from the asparagus. Top that off with the sharpness of the cheese, and you have yourself one great salad. The only fallback you ask? Yes, we all know it, that scent from the asparagus the next day.