Sunday, July 18, 2010

Leftover Grilled Summer Vegetables become Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese

(Note: the white chunks that look like they could be tofu are actually the "popped" in the photo.)

As I mentioned in my earlier post "Grilled Summer Vegetables", I always grill more vegetables than we need so I have leftovers to create into a second, quick meal. We are experiencing a heat wave and the thought of cooking a big meal, let alone eating it, isn't very appealing.  I started by cooking about of pound of penne, 1/2 regular and 1/2 whole grain. A note about whole grain pasta, if your family is not thrilled with it, try mixing it into regular pasta a little at a family has decided a 50/50 balance is perfect, but they will go higher!  I also find that with very flavorful sauces or marinades, the whole grain pasta is less noticable. Anyway, back to cooking the pasta.  Cook the penne for about 7 minutes, until al dente.  You don't want to overcook the pasta because it will absorb the dressing and soften further.  Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water.

I had between 3-4 cups of leftover grilled vegies that had been fairly crunchy off the grill.  I decided I would try to soften them a bit more, so I cooked them down in an pan on the stove.  I also added 8-10 grape tomatoes, halved.  The result(after about 20 minutes) was awesome, with carmelization and softening of the vegetables and the formation of a bit(very little) sauce.  I tossed the vegetables with the pasta and drizzled the mixture with vinaigrette.  I used my homemade, which is approximately 2 parts vinegar to 1 part olive oil with 2-3 t of dijon mustard, salt and pepper, but any favorite vinaigrette would work well. I refrigerated the salad for 4-6 hours.  Before serving I added chopped, fresh basil, dill and chives and feta cheese. The result was outstanding, if I do say so myself! The pasta absorbed the flavors of the vegetables and the herbs and cheese added dimension to the salad.  I served this with fresh fruit and my favorite bread from Artisan Bread in five minutes a day...the perfect summer supper.

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