Monday, 20 April 2015

Watercress and Parmesan Pasta Salad

I love a quick and simple pasta dish and will often make myself something along these lines for my supper when I'm home alone - with just a few simple ingredients you can make a really tasty dish that can be eaten hot or cold as a salad.

Last weekend we had a barbecue with a few friends up in Bath and I decided to make a pasta salad to go with it.
The kitchen in our little flat is tiny - fine for a quick meal but not really equipped to produce a banquet or anything more complicated than a grilled chop, so I decided that my contribution had to be something that required a minimum of equipment and only a few ingredient that I needed to prepare. I could have just wandered over to the shops and bought some salads - but being known for my home cooking it's very difficult for me to turn up with a shop bought dish - I get ribbed mercilessly if I do!

So, anyway for this barbecue I made a watercress and parmesan pasta salad. It very easy to make and quantities can be adjusted to suit numbers and tastes......

Recipe - serves 8

500g bag pasta - any shape will do I used Penne (only because it was on offer at the supermarket!)
1 bag or bunch watercress (usually comes in 80g bag)
2 tablespoons pesto
loads of parmesan shavings - just shave as much as you like
1 clove garlic - crushed
about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

First thing to do is cook your pasta - follow the packets instructions and make sure you don't over cook it - al dente is the thing.......I had to cook it in batches because my only sauce pan wasn't big enough!

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and whilst it's still hot add the pesto and crushed garlic along with a healthy slug of olive oil. Give it all a good mix to coat all the pasta. Now pop it all into a large mixing bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to cool.

Once cool give it all a gentle stir to loosen the pasta - it sometimes sticks together when cooling - if needed a little more olive oil will help loosen it all.

Wash and then roughly chop the watercress. Add to the pasta and combine along with the salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Lastly add your parmesan shaving - add as much or as little as you wish. If I'd had some I would have also added some pinenuts.

So that's all there is to it a simple and easy but very tasty pasta salad......this dish also makes a great packed lunch!

Hope you have a good start to your week
Love Lizx

 Pasta salad