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Recipe

Grilled whole-wheat pasta salad with basil dressing

July 1, 2009

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Serves 6

Pasta salad made with whole-wheat penne or fusilli is considerably more nutritious than a salad with regular pasta. De Cecco brand whole-wheat has a particularly good taste. This salad is tossed with grilled zucchini and roasted peppers, along with red onion, yellow or red cherry tomatoes, and crumbled feta. Add other cooked or raw vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, fennel), chopped green or black olives, or shredded Parmesan instead of feta.

SALAD

3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 roasted red peppers, cored, seeded, and halved
Salt, to taste
3/4 to 1 pound whole-wheat penne or fusilli twists
1 small red onion, cut into fine dice
1/2 pint yellow or red cherry tomatoes, halved
6 ounces feta, crumbled
1. Prepare a medium-hot fire for grilling.

2. In a bowl, combine the zucchini, oregano, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss to coat.

3. On a plate, coat the peppers all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

4. Arrange the zucchini and peppers on the grill. Cook the zucchini for 4 to 5 minutes on a side or until tender. Cook the peppers on the skin side for 10 minutes or until lightly charred. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly. Cut the zucchini slices into 1/4-inch dice. Use a small paring knife to remove the charred skin from the peppers. Cut the flesh into 1/4-inch dice.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir gently, and let the water return to a boil. Simmer for 12 minutes or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Drain in a colander and rinse with a little water. Transfer to a large bowl.

6. Add the grilled zucchini, red pepper, onion, tomatoes, and feta to the bowl. Toss gently but thoroughly.

DRESSING

1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 generous teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
16 large basil leaves, stemmed and shredded
1. In a bowl, whisk the garlic, mustard, and vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing emulsifies.

2. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture. Fold in the basil and taste for seasoning. Add more salt or pepper, if you like. Nina Simonds