Friday, August 27, 2010

Reading While Eating, Pasta

Experienced readers know the foods they shouldn't eat while reading. Don't have to tell you what they are. Here's a hint: spaghetti with thick sauce = disaster. Have you ever brought a book home from the library only to find the middle pages stained with greasy, bright orange smears of sauce? I know, say no more.

This is not going to be a treatise on foods you should or should not eat while reading (although that might be a good idea for a post later on - I'm always looking for topics), I'm just looking to tie in my pasta recipe which has been requested by a few friends, and my blog.

Here's my take on pasta salad: It's easy to eat, you only have to make it about once every three or so days, and it rarely splatters your book pages. You can fork this salad without looking, keeping your eyes focused on the printed page as you go and something interesting is bound to turn up in your mouth. And,best of all, you don't have to stop to deal with a knife. ,

I rarely measure with exact accuracy so I'll use handful and about and leave it up to your own cook's instincts to know what I mean. Paula Deen I am not. Also, this is a vegetarian salad (well, except for the bacon bits which I almost always forget) but I suppose you could add chopped chicken or turkey if you were so inclined.


One box of Rotini Pasta. (Any brand.)

Salt and pepper to taste.

One red pepper, roughly or finely chopped - up to you.

One green pepper, roughly or finely chopped - up to you.
(Obviously you could use a yellow or orange pepper as well. Whatever is on sale is fine. I like a nice mix of colors.)

One bunch of scallions, chopped. Use some of the green too. You could also use a smallish onion instead, if you like.

Half a pound (more or less - I usually like more, but then I'm an olive freak) of pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped. I wouldn't use jarred olives. Though I suppose those green jarred olives stuffed with pimentos would be all right. Wouldn't taste the same though.

About six or more of those sweet red peppers you find at most olive bars. I don't know what they're called, maybe tomato peppers? Anyway, they look like cherry tomatoes but they're mostly hollow except for a few seeds. I love them. Chop these nicely.

A handful of fresh flat leafed parsley, chopped roughly or fine. I love parsley so I don't mind a rough chop, I eat it either way.

About a cup of cubed cheese - cubed small. I like herb and garlic flavored white cheddar, but it's up to you. (Cabot makes a good one.) I suppose you could use tofu if you were so inclined.

About 1 1/2 oz. (more or less, depending on taste) of ready-to-use julienne cut sun dried tomatoes. You could julienne any size dried tomato of course, but why bother? No need to soak them at all, they'll soften in the salad.

A handful or two of any small bite-size veggie. I used frozen corn kernels yesterday. Just whacked them in the micro then left them to cool, but you could use peas or any chopped vegetable you like.

Bacon bits. I like to make my own, can't stand the store bought kind - they go wimpy. But I usually forget this ingredient and the salad turns out great anyway. So, it's up to you.

Salad dressing. I use about half of a smallish bottle of Ken's Tableside Caesar dressing. But of course, you could make your own or use diet dressing.

Two tablespoons or less of mayonnaise. I suppose if you were on a diet, you could use two tablespoons of plain low fat yogurt and it would be all right. Maybe I'll try that one of these days.


Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. (Firm to the bite.)

Immediately rinse under cold water to cool down the pasta and stop the cooking. Set aside to cool to room temperature if you have the patience.

Meanwhile, chop the rest of the ingredients. (Or you could do this while the pasta is cooking.)

Mix everything (except the bacon bits) together in a big bowl, tasting and adding as you go along. It's always easier to add than take away.

Toss several times to make sure of a nice mix. Top with more parsley and the bacon bits if you have them.

Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Fetch your book, set the table with flowers for a civilized touch, serve a big helping of salad, add a glass of wine or whatever, and there you are.


  1. Yum! Will absolutely have to try this book friendly pasta. :)

  2. I think you'll like it, Wallace. It's delicious if I say so myself. I love your name for it, much better than mine.

  3. I am a sloppy reader, no matter what I have for dinner, it will get on the book..or should I say the book will get on my dinner?

  4. Oh, me too, Carol. It's so embarassing. Thanks for posting. I love your blog, it's my 'go to' every morning. Love your watercolors too, needless to say.

  5. It seems delicious, Yvette, and I'll try it, though-as any good italian woman - I have to turn my nose up at salad dressing and mayonnaise on any pasta. What about a good olive extra vergin oil?
    I also read while eating, with devastating effects on my pages and on my dresses.

  6. Yes, I know, I know. Bottled salad dressing - GAK! I am SO ashamed. HA! But I did say you could make your own and of course you can use olive oil. (Which by the way, I love in just about anything.) You could also whip up your own mayo with olive oil as well. Or leave it out all together. But I like the combo of flavors. ;)

  7. I'm a new fan of pasta salads, enjoying them a lot lately and I will try this one soon! Thanks for the recipe, catching up on your blog this weekend, delightful as always, my friend!

  8. Let me know if you like it, Jean. Thanks for dropping by, kiddo.

  9. I like the way you think- a little of this, a little of that! Thanks from the farm families that own Cabot for recommending Cabot cheese :)

  10. You're welcome, Jacquelyn. Yes, I am not an exact 'measurer' by nature. ;) Thanks for posting. (Cabot makes a good product and I love it in this salad.)

  11. Thanks for psting the link for this....sounds yummy!


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