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Summer-fresh meals

Keep your cool with summer-fresh meals guaranteed to make weeknight cooking a breeze.

With the availability of all the local fresh produce, this is a good salad recipe that covers all the bases.

Cook the pasta al dente (1 to 2 minutes shorter than the package directions specify) so it holds its shape when tossed with the vegetables and vinaigrette.

Ripe for riffs, the salad is also delicious with chesse-filled tortellini. I’d add a little thinly sliced red onion with the tomatoes.

 

Farmer’s Market Pasta Salad

2 cups halved baby tomatoes

2 small zucchini, thinly sliced into half moons

1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 cup fresh corn kernels

1 cup diced firm, ripe fresh peaches (about 2 medium)

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Parmesan Vinaigrette

1 8 oz. package penne pasta*

2 cups shredded smoked chicken (about 10 oz.)

1/3 cup fresh basil

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

1. Toss together first seven ingredients in a large bowl, and let stand 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Add hot cooked pasta and chicken to tomato mixture; toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving platter, and top with basil and cilantro.

* 1 (20 oz.) package refrigerated cheese-filled torellini may be substituted.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

 

Parmesan Vinaigrette

Process 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper.

Makes about 1 cup.

 

Kitchen Tip

Dressing clings better to dry leaves of lettuce. If you’re making salad for company, wash and spin your greens in the morning. Then wrap them in paper towels, store in a zip-top plastic bag and chill until ready to use.

 

Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 20 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.

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