a late August pasta salad


Mornings have been starting to get a tad cooler in Charleston, SC. This morning, I wasn't afraid to fire up a pot of boiling water , since temperatures were only in the low 70s. I boiled some fusilli pasta, so it would be available for later use, when I was hungry later in the day and didn't feel like cooking a full meal. Fusilli turned into a produce-laden pasta salad. It made for an ideal late-afternoon lunch, after it had been marinated and cooled for a few hours. Pasta salad can have a reputation as sluggish, often doused in mayo or oil, but mine has an acidic bite, carefully dressed in balsamic and extra virgin olive oil from the Veggie Bin. Sprinkled with finely chopped rosemary and basil from my flowerpots, this pasta salad is full of refreshing summer produce and nutrition.

Yields: 4 servings

1/2 pound of pasta

2 cups whole mushrooms, thinly sliced, depending on size

1 zucchini, sliced into 1/8" rounds

2 ears of corn, husked and kernels removed

6 tablespoons olive oil (Olinda Olive oil)

Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Fresh rosemary, finely chopped, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

5 dried Tabasco peppers (optional)

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Boil lightly salted water in a medium pot. When boiling, add pasta and cook per packaging's directions. Drain, but do not rinse. Set aside in a large bowl. Add mushrooms, zucchini and corn to a medium bowl. Mix with 3 tablespoons olive oil and balsamic. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary and Tabasco peppers to taste. Mix together well and add to the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway. Combine cooked vegetables, pasta, beans, and remaining 3 T olive oil. Season with additional salt, pepper and vinegar to taste. Eat warm or cool completely. cover tightly and eat cold after letting it refrigerate.

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