Isaac H. Evans Favorite Recipes

Eileen's No'Toy'Rious Pretty Darn Good Pasta Salad


Eileen's No'Toy'Rious Pretty Darn Good Pasta Salad

Eileen rarely measured anything, especially when tossing together a playful concoction like the one following. Therefore, be advised that the suggested quantities in this recipe are approximate and have been scaled down from a salad to serve 26 people on the boat to a dish that would serve around 12…something you might like to take to a party or prepare for your family, planning to have enough left for a second meal.

The essential success of this salad lies in the firmness of the pasta, the roasting of the garlic, and the fresh herbs…none of that dried stuff! Also, the spirit with which you liberally sprinkle the TLC is most important. If you do not have a jar of TLC on your shelf you may end up with a fine salad, but it will not capture the essence of the pasta salad you enjoyed on the Evans

Here's the recipe (straight from Eileen!) and the ingredients are highlighted in bold.

Boil 2 Cups dried pasta in salted water until cooked but still firm (al dente is the cook's lingo). I like rotini best because it has such a fun shape and it is semolina pasta and therefore firmer than an egg noodle or macaroni. Upon occasion I have used tortellini and those are real good, too, with the extra surprise of being filled with cheese.

Immediately after boiling the pasta, turn it into a colander and cool it down by running cold water over it. Transfer the cooled pasta to a large salad bowl and toss it together with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.

Now, the fun part; go to your toy box and decide what toys you want to put in your salad:

My absolute favorite is roasted garlic*, and I use the cloves of and entire bulb. I also use about ¼ to ½ Cup of sliced sun dried tomatoes, 6 or 8 artichoke hearts sliced in half or quartered depending on size, ¼ Cup sliced pitted black olives. Sometimes, at the bottom of my toy box I might find cioppolito onions which I quarter or halve, or 2 or 3 hearts of palm that I slice into ½” slices, or a tablespoon of capers. Your toy box might include chopped green or red pepper...or roasted red pepper, chopped scallions, perhaps some garbanzo beans. The point is not how many or which toys you use, but how much fun you have playing with them!

After throwing all your toys onto the mound of cooled pasta, add some chopped fresh basil...about ¼ Cup, and ¼ cup TLC, and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Mix a dressing of ½ cup mayonnaise thinned down with ¼ cup of any vinaigrette type dressing you may have on hand...balsamic vinegar, Italian, Garlic, Caesar…any one will be great, just don’t use something sweet like poppy seed or French or raspberry. Pour the dressing-mayo blend that you’ve created over the pasta and toys, sprinkle a little more salt and pepper, and toss them all together. Enjoy!

* To roast garlic: break up the cloves of a while bulb and remove all of the papery skin. Place the cloves on an aluminum foil lined (shiny side up so the heat will reflect more evenly) pan and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over them and some salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss them around a bit so that all of the cloves are coated with oil on all sides. Fold up the edges of the foil to make a sort of cup around the garlic and put in the oven to roast. Roast at maybe 300° to 350° for about 20 minutes to a half-hour, stirring occasionally, until a nice deep golden brown. The garlic must be soft all the way through, and the darker it gets, the sweeter it gets, but take care not to let it get black!