Whenever I see a recipe that has anything to do with a pasta salad, I’m in. I’m all in. I love pasta salads. Fortunately for me, I have a cookbook that’s full of them. And the best part is that this cookbook has different variations of the same salad, so I’m able to enjoy many more of them than I normally would, with all the different types of flavors involved.
Today’s recipe is a simple pasta salad that uses rotini as the primary ingredient. It takes advantage of the flavors of roasted red onion, fennel and sun dried tomatoes in the salad itself and olive oil and lemon juice in the vinaigrette. It’s a very pleasant mixture that is quite nice to eat. I enjoyed it very much. If I had to tell you what this salad would be perfect for, I’d probably say it would be great at a BBQ or as a side dish at a party. Personally, I can eat a bowl of pretty much any type of pasta salad all by itself. I’m not picky about these types of things.
2 Fennel Bulbs, Cored with Stalks Removed, Sliced into 1/2 Inch Pieces
2 Medium Red Onions, Trimmed, Peeled and Sliced into 1/2 Inch Pieces
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper
1 Pound Dry Rotini Pasta
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, Chopped
I’d like to thank America’s Test Kitchen for their wonderful resource called The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. I got this recipe from it. It was perfect and very tasty. In a few days, I’ll be sharing a variation of this recipe that I think you’ll enjoy just as much as you would this one. Both of them are pretty awesome.
Pre-Heat the Oven
Arrange one oven rack so it’s in the center position. Then, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Prep the Ingredients
There isn’t too much prep involved with this recipe. It’s mostly just the fennel, red onion and basil that need to be dealt with.
First, I cut the stalks off the fennel and then, I cut each bulb into 1/2 inch pieces. Once they were cut, I carefully wedged out the cores of some of the pieces that had the core visible. When I was done with that, I put everything into a bowl.
Next, I trimmed and peeled the red onions. I also cut them into 1/2 inch pieces and put these pieces into another bowl.
Finally, I chopped up the basil and placed all of that into a small bowl.
Roast the Vegetables
In a large bowl, toss the fennel slices and the red onion slices with three tablespoons of olive oil. Also add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Mix everything well until the veggies are coated with the oil well.
Then, spread the contents of the bowl out onto a large baking sheet and place the sheet into the oven for 30 minutes. This should soften and lightly brown the vegetables.
It’s okay to leave this out on the counter to cool. It doesn’t need to remain hot.
Cook the Pasta
You can cook the pasta while the vegetables are roasting. Fill a large pot with four quarts of water. Add one tablespoon of salt to the water and bring everything to a boil over high heat on your stove top. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, stir and let cook for about 10 minutes or until it’s just al dente. Once the pasta is finished cooking, you can strain it in a colander in your sink.
After you strain the pasta, dump the contents of the colander into a large bowl. This will be the final bowl that everything gets added to, so make sure it’s large enough.
Prepare the Vinaigrette
In a medium sized bowl, combine 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of olive oil, the minced garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Whisk these ingredients together well.
Add the roasted vegetables from the baking sheet to the large bowl with the pasta in it. Also add in the vinaigrette, sun dried tomatoes and basil. Mix everything together well and season with salt and pepper as you see fit.
Plate & Serve
Divide the salad between bowls and serve. Enjoy!
The Final Pasta Salad
See, I told you this was a fast one. The toughest parts were the cooking of the pasta and the roasting of the vegetables, and even they weren’t difficult at all. The taste in this salad is great. It’s got just the right amount of garlic and lemon juice in the vinaigrette to make it memorable. Also, there’s a decent amount of vinaigrette used, so the flavors are distributed well. If you decide to give this recipe a try, please let me know your thoughts down below in the comment section. Thanks for reading!