Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Our Pasta Salad

The recipe that isn't.  I make this salad very frequently.  It's based on my father's noodle salad consisting of macaroni noodles, mayo, mustard, peas, and onion.  Some times I don't use any of those ingredients, but that's where it started.  It's also the "recipe" most asked for by friends and family.  I try and tell them that I have no recipe!  I put stuff together and wha-la!  Magic!  Well, close, but not entirely true. My husband and I have been making variations on this salad for ages, and I think we have the winning combination listed below - BUT, this is a VERY versatile recipe.  Add a little of this, take away that... new salad!  

O.k., so here's the rub.  In my salad (the one that isn't my husband's) there does exist a little bit of magic.  It's called Sate and I buy it at Penzy's. http://www.penzeys.com/ . We have 3 here in Minnesota, one just blocks from my house.  They're located around the US... but the best part??? Order it online.  If you haven't tried their sate, you are missing out on one of the best spices in all the world.  I know, Satay is a style of Indonesian food, but Penzy's makes a spice based on this curry - it's a yummy, yummy, yummy mix of wonder and magic.   I love it best with Shrimp...But that's another post.  Today, it's pasta.  Orzo to be precise.

Orzo Salad:
1 box Orzo - cooked aldente (macaroni or rotini also works)
2 large Roasted red bell peppers (jarred or do-it-yourself - whatever works)
1 small red onion - finely chopped *optional
1 block of fried small cubed Tofu.  PERFECT with Tofu, but canned salmon is also very yummy, and small shrimp is excellent.
Corn - seared.  We use good frozen corn, thaw it and dry it completely and put it in a HOT cast iron and sear it until it starts popping.  YUMMY, makes a great side dish when you add a touch of soy sauce. 
Pineapple  - chopped.  
sharp cheddar cheese - small cubes
mayonaise (used sour cream thinned with Soy milk today... ran out of mayo.  it was also very good)
dry ranch dressing

Cook the pasta, run cold water over it, or put it in the fridge/freezer until it's cooled completely.  Sear the thawed corn until slightly blackened - I guess we add a dash of sugar when frying to give it a sweetness.  Then let cool.  Tofu:  Use extra firm, and press dry for a 1/2 hour while you're doing other things.  Cube the tofu.  Then fry in a pan in about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of Canola Oil - add a couple dashes of sugar and good soy sauce to add some flavor.  Set aside to cool. In a small mixing bowl, mix together ranch dressing, sate, mayonaise and little bit of soy milk or cream to thin it out a bit. 

Here is where the magic begins - Mix everything together and put it in the fridge.  Let it get cold before eating - it's just better that way.

This is the part that troubles people so much though, how much of this? how much of that?  I DON'T KNOW!  sorry, but it's true. This is not the website for people that don't know how to cook.  This is a website for people that know how to cook and are looking for ideas.  so there. tough. deal.

It's worth it if you play around with it! yummy yummy yummy.