Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Aft agley

I continued my asparagus-buying binge through last week, and by Friday I had four bunches sitting in the fridge. We had an invitation for Sunday lunch, and I'd promised to bring some of the food, so I planned to use them for another batch of roasted asparagus. I spoke to our hostess on Friday afternoon, and we sorted out the menu, anticipating an idyllic spring luncheon on her back porch, overlooking the basking garden blooming in the sunshine.

Between Friday and Sunday, a few things happened. First, a weather front moved in that ensured that Sunday, instead of being sunny, breezy, and warm, was grey, raw, and chilly. Second, the number of people coming for lunch doubled. Third, I noticed that four bunches' worth of roasted asparagus doesn't look like it started out as four bunches of asparagus, especially when it's for twice as many people as you thought it would be serving. Fourth, it dawned on me that there wasn't a single thing on the original lunch menu that Miss B was likely to eat.

Happily, doing something about the fourth thing also had a knock-on positive effect on the first three. Yes, pasta even improves bad weather…or at least makes you care about it less.

Antipasto Pasta Salad

Pesto balsamic vinaigrette dressing

1 cube/2 Tbsp pesto

2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in an empty jar and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside.


1 lb/450 g short pasta (penne, farfalle, gemelli, etc.)

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 batch slow-roasted tomatoes

6 slices prosciutto, chopped

1 oz/30 g pecorino romano, shaved

salt & pepper

Cook pasta al dente in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Dump into a large bowl (or container, if transporting). Drizzle with olive oil and toss; this will keep the pasta from sticking together.

Add tomatoes, prosciutto, and cheese to pasta; toss to mix thoroughly. Shake dressing briefly, then pour half over salad and continue to mix. Taste to see if you think it needs more and add accordingly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 10-12 as part of a lunch buffet, in any kind of weather.


Mark Scarbrough said... Best Blogger Tips

Have I yet told you that it's clearly some sort of harbinger of evil that people get to experience spring while we're winding down into fall in this hemisphere? Gosh, this makes me yearn for tender asparagus from the garden. Ah, well, I'll wait. Not patiently, mind you.

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Will it make you feel any better if I say that I feel your pain? Especially having spent the last three months reading about everyone up north's fresh peach pie, juicy berries, and green beans so fresh you could slap them. How about this: I'll trade you some southern asparagus for a northern apple pie. Deal?

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