Yes, here it is again, asparagus. I can't resist it. The price is right and the quality is excellent. This refreshing salad combines the asparagus with sugar snap peas, penne, and orange segments. Pasta salads can sometimes be a little boring, but I thought this one was quite interesting. And it's perfect for a party, where it could safely sit out at room temperature for an extended period. I long for summer to arrive, with vine ripened tomatoes, basil and peppers. But beautiful spring vegetables, such as these, make the wait bearable.
This simple but delicious salad is my submission to Presto Pasta Night, which was started by the wonderful Ruth at Once Upon A Feast. Each Friday Ruth has a recap of wonderful pasta recipes from bloggers from all over the world. So, do stop by and check it out.
Spring Asparagus And Sugar Snap Pea Penne Salad
(Williams Sonoma Complete Pasta Book)
8 ounces asparagus, tough ends snapped off
8 ounces sugar snap peas, tough end removed and stringed
5 Tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces penne
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 or more Tablespoons chopped chives
Bring well salted water to boil and cook the penne according to directions. As it cooks, slice the asparagus into diagonal pieces, about the length of the penne. Clean the sugar snap peas, and remove the zest from the orange and cut it into very thin slivers. Squeeze the juice from the orange and set aside. Cut the other orange into sections. peeled or not.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and run cold water on it. drain off the water and put the pasta in a large bowl. Toss it with 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Set it aside to cool off for at least 1 hour (or longer). As it cools, bring water to boil and cook the asparagus for about 4-5 minutes, then scoop it out and run cool water on it. Then drop the peas in the same water and cook for 2-3 minutes, then drain and run cold water on them. Set the asparagus and peas in the fridge to cool off.
When the pasta has cooled to your liking, mix in the asparagus, sugar snap peas, chives, and dressing. Toss well, and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the salad in individual serving bowls, garnished with the orange segments.
Whisk together the remaining 4 Tablespoons of oil, the orange juice, vinegar, zest, and salt and pepper to taste, and add more vinegar or orange juice if you wish.