Monday, 6 June 2011

Spaghettini al Fresco

Insalata di Spaghetti con Salsa di Piselli, Menta e Mandorle
Spaghetti Salad with a Mint, Pea and Almond Dressing

How about something fresh and different for these hot, humid Summer days? Or Evenings!?!

Something light, and healthy and inexpensive to boot. 

This simple dish is easy to make, guaranteed to please and perfect to prepare in advance when you are expecting guests...

You may want to wear a blindfold whilst making this one, just to make it into a little more of a challenge- it really IS that simple. But that is the best thing about it! You will have the dressing made in the time it takes for the spaghetti to cook- and how cool is that? The trickiest part of it is the toasting of a few breadcrumbs and almond slivers, which you are going to love as a crunchy and savory garnish. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a Teflon pan and add breadcrumbs, a little grated, salted ricotta cheese, some chopped parsley, some fresh pepper and a bit of grated lemon zest. Toast at a moderate heat until golden brown. Don't you love that you have just completed the most complicated part of the meal? 

Set these to one side to cool, along with the cooked spaghetti- this tastes best either at room temperature or chilled- so it is an absolutely no-stress meal to prepare!

The sauce, or dressing for this dish gets put together in less than 10 minutes and requires no cooking... and you like that a lot don't you? This sounds to good to be true!, doesn't it?
But this is how you do it!

To make enough dressing for 2 portions, I used 2 cups of frozen peas- straight from the freezer, 2 cups of fresh mint, 1 cup of fresh basil, 1 cup of toasted almonds, 1 cup of shallots, 1 cup of chopped celery, 1 clove of garlic and 2 cups of fresh plain yogurt. This all goes into your blender and gets whizzed together on "pulse" until everything is smooth and creamy. Season with a little vegetable bouillon powder, salt and pepper and blend together into a nice sauce. You may need to add more yogurt if you think it is a little too thick, but the consistency is a matter of taste. 

And that, cari amici, is all you need to do... except to pour some chilled prosecco and to serve it up!

I added some thinly sliced radishes for an extra bit of crunchiness and color- you will find that the peppery flavor goes really well with the mint and peas too. Add your sauce and mix together well until all of the spaghetti is nicely coated in the rich green dressing. Now add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of grated salted ricotta. You can add a little extra sauce on top if you like- but the finishing touch is really the crispy breadcrumb and almond topping- delicious!

A few chili flakes for a bit of fire can only be a good thing on such a wonderful and refreshing Summer dish... and after all- I would hate for you to catch a cold on my account! Be Healthy! Enjoy!

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