Pasta, pasta, pasta, those of us who are always careful on our carb intake do try to avoid this deliciousness at most costs, but as I believe in the 80/20 rule, when you are going to make a pasta dish – do it well and fill it with wonderful ingredients to make it even more spectacular.
Walnuts, pears, apple, goats cheese are not the usual for a traditional Italian pasta dish – that’s why this take on a pasta salad is one of my old time favourites. And the colour contrast of the purple onion, green spinach and shallots, along with the soft white goats cheese, with the crispness of the pear and apple just looks lovely once plated up. It’s a wonderful seasonal dish, suited perfectly for those warmer months.
A lazy Sunday afternoon, with some close friends, sipping on a glass of chardonnay, this easy whip up will definitely impress your guests. The work in this dish is really just in the preparation of the ingredients, it really is a low fuss, easy to make lunch or entrée. The hardest thing about this recipe is actually the name!!!
What you will need:
2 cups casarecce pasta
50g soft goats cheese (I use the one you can purchase that is already marinated in herbs/oil)
60g baby spinach leaves
1 shallot (stick)
1 medium green granny smith apple (peeled and cut into 1cm-2cm pieces)
1 medium pear (peeled and cut into 1cm-2cm pieces)1/4 purple onion
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (use the same oil the goat’s cheese is marinated in)
1/8 cup of red wine vinegar
- Cook the pasta for 9mins slightly al dente, add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil in the water to boil. Be sure to always have the water at boiling point before putting in the pasta and then start timing it.
Note: I always suggest rinsing pasta under cold water if using it in a cold salad, so that you remove the starch and separate the pasta nicely.
- Peel and cut the pear into small 1cm-2cm cubes.
- Peel and cut the green granny smith apple. Cut the apple long ways, then spin the board and cut the apple into cubes.
- Crush up the 50g soft goat’s cheese and place into the same bowl – the residual oil around the goats cheese is what helps this salad bond together, and gives it a creamy consistency.
- You will need 60g baby spinach leaves so remove them from the pack and put them aside.
(Quick reminder to check up on your pasta and give it a little stir)
6. Cut up your purple onion in thin slices and then cut them into smaller pieces from there.
7. Also cut up your shallots into thin slices.
8. Cut your walnuts finely.
9. Your pasta should now be al dente (pasta that is cooked and firm to the bite), so remove it from the heat once you turn the timer off – drain the pasta and place it into a bowl and mix it with the baby spinach.