1 April 2020

Springtime Pasta Salad

Maggie May's Springtime Pasta Salad

Having eaten a lot of dinners based on store cupboard essentials recently {think beans, stews, lentils etc.}, I had a hankering for something a bit fresher tasting - a dish to suit the bright, clear weather we've been having and remind me that spring is really here.

Getting hold of fresh fruit and vegetables can be a little tricky at the moment, but I've managed to cobble together a recipe that embraces that colourful, springtime feeling whilst only calling on three salad ingredients: tomatoes, garlic and spinach {and if this is proving difficult to get hold of, the frozen stuff would work too}.

It's based on a recipe from Madeleine Shaw's cookbook A Year of Beautiful Eating*, and although it's from her summer chapter, it's just what I needed this April. I've made several tweaks here and there, such as switching the fresh corn on the cob ears for tinned in light of current circumstances, but obviously if you have the real deal then by all means use it! I also fancied adding in slow-roasted tomatoes instead of sun-dried, but have included an optional squirt of sun-dried tomato paste for added flavour.

The result is a tasty, comforting rainbow bowl of veggies, with the crunch of the pine nuts adding to the sweet, caramelised tomatoes and smoky sweetcorn. Mr MM and I both found it a really delicious weekday supper, and it's very straightforward to produce. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Maggie May's Springtime Pasta Salad

Ingredients - Serves 2

150g pasta
1/2 tin of sweetcorn
2 large tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Handful of spinach leaves
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tbsp basil pesto
Handful of pine nuts
Crushed chilli flakes
Oregano
Sea salt flakes {I use these*}
Black pepper
Dried mixed herbs {optional}
1/2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste {optional}
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Equipment

Small baking tray
Frying pan
Wooden spoon
Saucepan

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (200ºC fan)/425ºF/gas mark 7. Chop your tomatoes into 2-3cm chunks and place in the baking tray. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle black pepper, oregano and sea salt flakes over the top. Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes until charred and softened.

2. Gently heat the coconut oil, paprika and crushed garlic in a frying pan for a few minutes. Once the garlic starts to brown, add the sweetcorn and fry for 15 minutes or so on a medium-high heat, frequently stirring, until the corn is charred and popping.

3. While the corn is cooking, cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the packet instructions. Drain once cooked.

4. Add the pine nuts and chilli flakes to the frying pan, and fry for a few minutes until the pine nuts start to colour. Add the tomatoes and spinach leaves, and heat until the latter start to wilt.

5. Stir in the pesto, sundried tomato paste if using and a generous glug of olive oil to the mixture, then pour in the cooked pasta. Stir all together and serve in bowls with olive oil drizzled on top and a sprinkle of mixed herbs.

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