Bistro Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is great served warm but is equally good served cold.  It is a really nice summer pasta salad and is perfect for a picnic lunch or summer potluck and it makes a lot to feed a crowd.

IMG_3393

450g box bowtie pasta

Olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

14oz jar marinated artichoke

14oz jar roasted red peppers

14oz can crushed tomatoes

2 cups baby spinach (you can use regular spinach, just chop it)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

sal and pepper to taste

a good sprinkling of grated parmesan (probably about 1/4 cup)

Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente.

mince garlic and toss with a little olive oil

IMG_3374

put strain pasta in bowl with the garlic and toss generously with more olive oil

IMG_3375

Chop the roasted peppers and artichokes, into bite size-ish pieces

IMG_3378 IMG_3380

Toss that in on the pasta

IMG_3384

Add the tomatoes, at this stage I season with a little salt and pepper and taste to make sure it is how I want it

IMG_3386

Toss in the spinach and some parmesan

IMG_3389

Mix it all together

IMG_3391

Serve topped with a little sprinkle of parmesan and some baguette…and a nice glass of wine.

IMG_3393

French Bread Mushroom Pizza

IMG_0679

This is Delicious, with a capital D!  I got this recipe from a blog that I follow.  I have been in the mood for mushrooms lately and couldn’t wait to try this.  It was so good, I will definitely make it again. I needed more mushrooms, will use two packages next time, or a smaller loaf.

Here is the link to the recipe, French Bread Mushroom Pizza

Basically you take a french bread loaf, cut in half length wise.   You can make garlic toast out of it at this point if you wish, or not either will work and is good.  I didn’t make the garlic toast this time, but I think next time I will.

Make a simple béchamel sauce smear on the bread with the mushroom which have been sautéed in a few ingredients top with cheese and bake for a few minutes.  Check out the Jam Hands blog, link above, for the complete recipe.

IMG_0680

IMG_0679

Frugal Faux Pesto…aka basil pesto

I cannot really call this pesto as there are no pine nuts, or anything replacing them.  We really like pesto, but got used to making it without one of the main ingredients when Evie was in daycare, there was a child there with a severe pine nut allergy. Of course we couldn’t substitute walnuts because like most schools/daycares there is a no nut policy due to allergies.  Now we still make it this way, which we are ok with, because pine nuts are expensive.

We went to the local farmer’s market to get some nice fresh basil and we got a big bunch for the same price we would have paid for a little sprig at the grocery store.  It smelled soooo good.  We also got some local garlic braided with pretty dried flowers.  Evie can’t stop picking at it.  

Image

 

Pick off the leaves, wash and dry, need about 2-3 cups

Image

 

4 cloves minced garlic

Image

 

about half cup grated parmesan

Image

 

Blitz all of this in a food processor a few times, then blend more, while pouring in a constant stream of olive oil.  I used somewhere between half cup and a cup of olive oil.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.

Image

 

Image

 

We kept some pesto for our supper sandwiches and Evie took some to school to dip her bread in for lunch.

The rest we will freeze to use later.  Probably for a dressing for pasta salad for a school lunch.  To freeze pesto I place a sheet of cling wrap over a mini muffin tin and fill the cups with the pesto.  The plastic wrap will make it easier to remove from the tins then wrap individually and place in a container or zip top bag.  That way you can pull one out at a time.

Image

 

For supper we made sandwiches on one of our favorite breads, foccacia would also be good.

grilled chicken, avocado and a tomato from our garden. You can omit the chicken for a veggie version

ImageImageImage