simple summer suppers

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When the wether gets warm I like things like simple and fresh pasta salads for supper. So that’s what I’m having this evening and it couldn’t have been easier to make.

I got some beautiful vegetables at the Thornbury Farm CSA Saturday including what I like to call lollipop, or large spring onions and fresh snap peas. I already had some beautiful bright sweet bell peppers in the refrigerator at home and a lot of herbs in my garden and some celery.

All I did was cook a bag of regular frozen cheese tortellini, boil up a couple boneless skinless chicken breasts, steamed my snap peas, chopped up the other vegetables, and tossed together with a honey-herb-mustard vinaigrette that I made. The main herb in the vinaigrette (which also had garlic and a shallot in it ) was fresh dill, but I also to the salad added chopped fresh fennel tops, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, and basil.

Summer dinners are meant to be easy!

not your mama’s pasta salad

When it is hot, even I don’t want to cook as much.  So today I was feeling like pasta salad, but I wanted something different from spiral pasta or say, tortellini.  I opened the freezer and grabbed a bag of mini ravioli.  Why not?  If you can make a tortellini salad, why not use mini ravioli?

So I created a vinaigrette and added a bit of fresh lemon juice, some mustard and a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise and whisked it together.  If you wanted to you could use a store-bought salad dressing.  I would suggest if that was the case, an  Italian or Caesar or Balsamic vinaigrette.

I cooked the mini ravioli to the minimum of cooking time as per the package.  I drained them and put them in a bowl to cool.

In another bowl I took a Vidalia onion, cucumber, a couple of tomatoes, fresh green beans blanched and chopped, half a jar of roasted peppers chopped up, fresh herbs (parsley, basil, and dill), a cup or so of chick peas (“ceci”), and a small jalapeno pepper (seeded, cored, and diced), tossed it in the dressing, and then gently folded in the cooled mini ravioli.

I adjusted for salt and pepper, et voila!  Not your mama’s pasta salad.

I may toss some fresh crumbled queso fresco on it when I serve it. Or I might just leave it as it.  I love queso fresco.

*Important to note is to NOT overmix this or the ravioli will literally rupture.  Do NOT over dress this or the ravioli will fall apart from that too.

I think it tastes pretty good!

Hmmm I just realized about a year ago, Conde Nast contacted me to use another one of my everything but the  kitchen sink recipes in a cookbook being published in the Fall of 2012.  I need to follow up about that – I do not even know what the cookbook is to be called…..