I resurrected a pasta salad recipe I had learned many years ago from an Italian friend of mine, for a training session I did this weekend. There’s not much of a story to tell around this dish, it just is what it is (which is quite a allot in itself) - it’s flavour packed, pretty healthy and balanced, easy and accessible to most palates. It makes a great accompaniment to a main meal or is a perfect light meal on its own. You can eat it just like that or add more veggies – like peppers, olives, baby corn, snow peas etc. or add proteins like crispy bacon or chicken.
Ricotta is a much neglected diary product in my kitchen, but I plan on changing this after using at again twice this weekend. It tastes great (I think, even better than cottage cheese) but it’s one of the lowest fat options of diary product you can get. It is a great source of protein, has the good omega 3’s, is high in calcium, zinc and selenium, riboflavin and vitamin B12. It’s also low in sodium. It’s creamy and tangy and great in so many recipes. The annoying thing is it’s not available in all supermarkets. Woollies usually has it and some of the bigger Pick n Pays.
Okay – enough with adjectives and list. Let just get toe recipe which is straight forward.
Herby ricotta and cherry tomato pasta salad
250g ricotta cheese
Half a chilli finely chopped (optional)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (reduce if desired)
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (reserve a few for garnish)
½ tsp of salt
¼ tsp of fresh ground black pepper
250g mini Italian tomatoes, cut into quarters (reserve a few for garnish)
250g fusilli pasta cooked in very salty water and drained
80g salad pack of choice (optional)
In a large bowl combine the ricotta, chilli, oil, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper by mashing it up together with a fork. Add the tomatoes and pasta and combine lightly with a fork. Refrigerate until ready for use.
Before serving arrange the salad leave on a platter and spoon the pasta salad mixture on top. Garnish with a few tomato quarters and the fresh herbs.