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Spring Garden Pasta Salad

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Pasta:

Kosher salt

1 pound whole-wheat fusilli pasta 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups), fronds reserved 

3 cups baby kale 

2 cups snow peas, trimmed and halved on the bias 

1 cup thinly sliced radishes

Freshly cracked black pepper 

Handful edible flowers, optional 

Dressing:

1 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers or sweet red peppers

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 

1 teaspoon sugar 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 

2 cloves roasted garlic, recipe follows, peeled

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

Roasted Garlic:

1 head garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled

Directions

  1. For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Set aside.
  2. For the dressing: Meanwhile, add the peppers, vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper and roasted garlic to the carafe of a blender. Turn the blender to high and blend until the peppers are pureed and the ingredients are incorporated. Once the mixture is smooth, reduce the speed to low. Remove the cap inside the blender top and slowly drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify the mixture into a thick and shiny dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the warm pasta. Add the sliced fennel and toss to combine. Pour into a serving dish.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the spring vegetables: the baby kale, snow peas, radishes and 1/4 cup of the fennel fronds. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently toss, then place in a mound over the dressed pasta mixture in the serving dish. Garnish with edible flowers if using.

Roasted Garlic:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool. Refrigerate the cloves in an airtight container. Peel right before using.

Cook’s Note

This recipe works well chilled or at room temperature, and the pasta can be made in advance. It can feature any farm-fresh vegetables. If the veggies are hearty (like the fennel), they should be tossed with the warm pasta. If they are tender (like the greens or peas), they should stay in the salad on top.

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