It has been so hot this year – or may be I forget from one July to the next how bad it can get – that my usual enthusiasm/willingness to cook has deserted me more often these past few weeks than I can remember it happening before.
But the family has to be fed; so I decided one evening recently to combine everyone favorite ingredients – that’s cherry tomatoes for Noor and me, corn for Indira and Noor and Shri, pasta and pesto for everyone(most of all Indira) -plus some beans and grated carrots for the nutrition quotient, to make this pasta salad. Now that sure was a very quick and easy dinner ! Here’s what I did :
Pasta with Vegetables and Pesto
Pasta (any short shape) – 150 grams
Carrots – 3 medium sized
Frozen beans – 3/4 cup
Sweet Corn – a 125 gram tin
Cherry tomatoes – 150 – 200 grams
3 tablespoons of readymade pesto sauce
(look for brands that make the pesto with pine nuts, and not cashewnuts, which is the more commonly used ingredient in most commercially available pesto)
Snap the frozen beans in to 1 inch pieces and steam them till they are cooked.
(One way to do this is to place the steamer, with the beans in it,over the pan in which you will boil the pasta, so that both get done at the same time)
Boil 1-1.5 litres of water in a kettle, then transfer to a large pan. Add 1/2 tsp salt and a few drops of any cooking oil, and bring it to a boil again. Add the pasta and leave it to cook, stirring it occasionally.
In the meanwhile chop the cherry tomatoes in to halves and put these in a large salad bowl.
Add the corn to the tomatoes, after draining all the liquid in which it was packed.
Peel,wash, and grate the carrots in a food processor, then add these as well to the corn and the tomatoes.
Once the beans are steamed, leave them to cool for a bit, then mix with the other vegetables along with a sprinkling of salt and the pesto.
Once the pasta is cooked, allow it to cool for a few minutes (pasta that is too hot would make the tomatoes go a little soft) then toss it will the other ingredients in the bowl.
This salad works equally well with a different dressing. Combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1/2 a teaspoon of dried basil. Mix this dressing in to the vegetables instead of the pesto.
It is a good idea to make this salad at least an hour before you are ready to eat, since this allows the pasta to soak in all the flavors.