Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cavatappi with Tomato, Spinach, and Feta

I like to call this an "elegant" pasta salad. It's a little different than the standard cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots and Italian dressing a lot of people think of when they hear 'pasta salad' because it combines a wonderful, garlicky tomato mixture seasoned with fruity olive oil and fresh spinach.

I have made several changes from the original recipe as will see if you click on the link - mostly for convenience and based on what is easier to find in my supermarket. There are a variety of pastas you can use, just make sure to choose one that vaguely resembles a corkscrew. This time I used cavatappi but I also like to use campanelle.

I often make this ahead of time and just add the spinach and feta right before serving, as the directions indicate.

Cavatappi with Tomato, Spinach, and Feta
adapted from Food Network
Makes 10-12 side dish servings

1 pound cavatappi or other corkscrew pasta
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), diced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 clove garlic
6-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
5 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and dried
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt and add pasta. Cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Put the onions in a small bowl of cold water.

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes with 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Chop the oregano with the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Use the flat side of a chef's knife to mash and smear the mixture into a paste. Sprinkle the garlic mixture over the tomatoes. Drain the onions, pat dry, and add to tomato mixture along with red peppers. Add the vinegar and olive oil and mix to combine. Add the pasta and toss well. Chill for several hours.

Just before serving (or bringing to your get-together) add the baby spinach and feta cheese. Mix gently and season with salt and pepper.

1 comment:

Julie said...

That looks so delicious and fresh, definitely bookmarking!