Monday, July 11, 2011

Edamame & Cauliflower Pasta Salad with Feta

I love pasta salad; it's one of those things people always bring to potlucks and barbecues, even if they're just bringing a tub of grocery store macaroni salad (don't get me wrong, I have a somewhat guilty soft spot for store-bought mac salad).  So when I was asked to bring something to a family barbecue last week, I automatically volunteered to bring a pasta salad.  Now, I have a go-to pasta salad, and it's good, if a little boring: tri-colour fusili, chopped bell peppers, kalamata olives, balsamic dressing and feta cheese.  Like I said, it’s a nice enough salad, but I wanted something a little different, and already had a recipe in mind.

I found this recipe at The Kitchn, and was immediately smitten.  I love edamame, and feta, and I liked the idea of soy to season the dressing. I hate when people rinse pasta to cool it; it gets rid of the starch which means the dressing has nothing to stick to, so I also like the idea of adding the frozen beans to the hot pasta to cool it.

Another point in this salad’s favour is the fact that it keeps well.  It can sit in the fridge for a few days, making it a great lunch staple, and also it won’t go icky if it’s sitting on the buffet table at a summer barbecue.

 Edamame & Cauliflower Pasta Salad with Feta
Adapted from The Kitch
I changed a few things from the original recipe: I added some mustard and lemon zest to the dressing, and I left out the mint and green onions in favour of flat-leaf parsley and chives.

serves 8 to 10
500g dry orzo
16 ounces shelled frozen edamame
1 medium head cauliflower 

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar
2 lemons

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
8 ounces feta cheese, drained of excess liquid
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt it, and add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente.  Meanwhile, zest one of the lemons, and juice both.  Whisk the olive oil, mustard, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice and zest together in a large mixing bowl.  Taste, and season it with salt and pepper.  Once the pasta’s cooked, drain it and add the pasta to the bowl.  Add the frozen edamame and toss to combine. Set aside.
Refill the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat.  While waiting the water to come to a boil, chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, discarding the leaves and tough stem.  When the water boils, salt it, and add the cauliflower and cook until just tender — about 5 to 7 minutes.  Drain into a colander and let cool.
Chop the drained feta cheese. Toss the parsley, chives, feta, and drained cauliflower with the pasta and the dressing.  Give the salad one more taste to check the seasonings, and adjust if you need to.
Serve warm, lukewarm, or cold. This will keep very well in the refrigerator for a week or more.

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