Thursday, July 30, 2009

Matzo Crusted Fish with a Spicy Tomato-Corn Ragout

Several months ago I came across a fish I had never heard of or seen - Basa Swai. It is a white fish from Vietnam that I have cooked with a few times since first trying. My other basa recipes can be found here.

I wanted something light and summery, and what says summer more than sweet corn and fresh tomatoes? I prefer my fish breaded, so I went back to an idea from a previous recipe using matzo meal to coat the fish.

I came up with a Matzo Crusted Fish with a Spicy Tomato-Corn Ragout.

The Fish...

  • 2 basa filets (or any light, white fish)
  • 1 egg, beaten and mixed with approximately 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 envelope matzo meal (I'm estimating it was 4 tbsp)
  • A few shakes each of the following spices: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Cooking spray


  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat; preheat oven to 375
  • Rinse fish, pat dry. Dip in egg then matzo mixture. Transfer to hot pan and cook for 30-45 seconds on each side. Transfer to a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Bake on 375 for just 5 minutes more, or until fish is done

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Spicy Tomato-Corn Ragout

I planned on using a jalapeno in this recipe, but when I started to prep realized I didn't have one. I still wanted the heat so I used some red pepper flakes and cayenne. Next time I will definitely use a jalapeno for both color and heat. I used this under the fish on the plate as well as spread over it once plated.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 c frozen sweet corn
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Approximately 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch or two of salt (to taste)
  • 1/3 c chicken broth
  • Handful chopped fresh spinach


  • Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat
  • Add onions and garlic, saute 3-4 minutes
  • Add corn, saute 1-2 minutes.
  • Add spices and tomatoes; saute 1-2 minutes.
  • Add broth and let simmer until most of the liquid has absorbed.
  • Stir in spinach until wilted.

This ragout was so delicious - sweet from the corn, but had a nice amount of heat from the red pepper flakes. If you don't like heat, omit the red pepper flakes. I can see turning this into a more Mediterranean or Italian flavored dish by replacing the spicy ingredients with basil (fresh) and/or oregano.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

He's at it again..another (delicious) marinade

My friend Jenny was over on Monday night to watch the season finale of the Bachelorette, sure to be the most dramatic ending ever (don't they say that every season?). Jon didn't watch with us, and was happy to spend some time in the kitchen creating another new marinade for the next night's dinner - grilled pork chops.

We were both laughing as we watched him go from the spice cabinet to the fridge, back to the spice cabinet then to the pantry, to the liquor closet, and back to the fridge. Chopping and whisking and smelling, he puts a lot of thought and creativity into these marinades!

This ended up being a pretty simple one with a lot of flavor, but not overpowering at all.

Estimated amounts -
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated through the microplane
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • To add some bulk, he added about 1/4 c white wine.

The chops marinated overnight. Even though there was lime in the marinade and the chops began to turn white, this is ok. The acid in the juice acts as a tenderizer and helps keep the moisture in. So don't be scared to use lime or lemon juice overnight in marinades!

Roasted Broccoli on the Grill

We cook everything on the grill - from the usual things like chicken and steaks to veggies, bread, and even salad, we'll try anything on the grill.

But broccoli? I never would have thought to make it on the grill. But with a bit of tin foil anything is possible. I even roasted garlic on the grill several weeks ago.

I started by laying down 2 large pieces of foil, slightly overlapping, and put them together by folding the edges over like I was making a paper fan - this made my bottom seam.

I chopped the broccoli into florets and put it on the foil along with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Before closing it up, I put a few small pieces of butter on top. I sealed it up and threw it on the grill for about 12 minutes, shaking it every few minutes.

It was perfect! Slightly crisp, bright green, and full of flavor.

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

When I was planning my menus for the week, I had to come up with a good pasta dish. My friend was coming over to watch the Bachelorette on Monday night, and she loves my pasta dishes.

I stumbled upon this one for Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells on Joelen's blog. I read it, made a mental note of it, but didn't have the recipe nearby when I started cooking so I just winged it based on what I remembered from hers and past experiences with baked or stuffed pastas. Looking back at her recipe, my version was similar.

What I did differently - I didn't use the egg, used fresh spinach instead of frozen, I think I used more sausage (used a whole package, sausage rolls out to about 20 inches long, maybe more), I added sauce into the stuffing mixture, I threw in some freshly chopped parsley, and used less cheese and sauce on top. Here is what I did -

  • 24 shells; my box said jumbo shells, but they were on the small side
  • 1 package hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 1.5 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 16 oz part skim ricotta
  • Approximately 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1 jar (28 oz) tomato sauce


  • Cook the pasta shells in boiling, salted water. Drain and rinse. In the meantime -
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan
  • Using your hands, crumble the sausage into the pan. I wanted the pieces to be pretty small, so this took me a while. Continue to stir the sausage; cook until browned.
  • Add red pepper flakes, oregano, onions, and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in parsley.
  • In a separate pan, heat olive oil. Add spinach and cook until slightly wilted, only 1-2 minutes. Add spinach to the sausage mixture.
  • Remove sausage/spinach mixture to a bowl.
  • Add ricotta, half of the mozzarella, and about 1/3 of the sauce. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Spread a thin layer of sauce out in a baking dish.
  • Put a large spoonful of the sausage mixture in each shell; place in a baking dish seam side down.
  • Spread some sauce across all of the shells and top with the remaining mozzarella.
  • Cover and bake on 375 for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

The test...Jon doesn't like ricotta at all, but he was surprised at how much he liked these shells. Me too! They had great flavor, had a nice kick, and were creamy and comforting. The three of us finished about 18 of them!

They took a little bit of work, but were well worth it. I will definitely make these again, possibly with manicotti pasta for something different.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Asian Marinated Chicken with Sesame-Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Yesterday, while planning our meals for the week, I suggested pork chops on the grill for Sunday's dinner. Jon nearly knocked me out of my chair when he said he preferred chicken. Chicken?? Jon always complains how much I make chicken (maybe once a week?) so you can imagine my surprise at his suggestion.

I agreed immediately and picked up some organic chicken. I put him in charge of the marinade, as he is the master of marinades! Check out the marinades tag in my blog for some of his amazing creations. We decided on Asian flavors, and he came up with the following (amounts are approximate):

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3-4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced through the microplane
  • Small knot of ginger, minced through the microplane

Simple, right? The chicken marinated for 7 hours before Jon grilled it. It was absolutely amazing! Full of flavor and juicy. The sesame flavor really stood out, and the ginger added a lot of brightness. Jon said this has to be his best marinade for chicken yet - I agree.

When I went to the veggie store today they were out of bok choy. I meant to get it at the supermarket, but completely forgot, so I cooked some Brussels sprouts instead. We both love Brussels sprouts either roasted or sauteed with garlic and butter. I sauteed them tonight, and added a few other flavors to complement the chicken.

Brussels Sprouts - Ingredients
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, cleaned, bottoms cut off, and halved
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/3 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


  • Heat a pan - add butter, olive oil, and sesame oil
  • Add garlic, saute 2 minutes
  • Add Brussels sprouts and red pepper flakes; saute for 8 minutes, adding sugar halfway through to help it caramelize
  • Add broth, lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 5 minutes or until the sprouts are cooked (mostly soft, but not mushy)

What a great way to add a bit of flavor to Brussels sprouts, especially with the flavors we had going on in the chicken. I love how they turn so bright green after they cook -

Finally, I made a packaged item for our side... I don't normally use packaged foods, but found some nice looking Thai Vegetable Dumplings at Trader Joe's yesterday. I don't get to Trader Joe's often - the closest one is a new one that just opened 30 minutes from us. But I hear people raving about their frozen items, so picked these up.

They were very easy to cook - I heated olive oil in a pan, added the frozen dumplings and browned them on all sides, about 5 minutes. Then I added just enough water to coat the bottom of the pan, covered them, and let them steam for 3 more minutes. I was pleasantly surprised - they were pretty good! I won't make a habit of using things like this, but it was nice to find some good, quality packaged food that I didn't feel bad about eating.

I hope everyone had a delicious weekend!

Simple Summer Dinner on the Grill

Nothing beats cooking an entire meal on the grill - easy clean up, you don't heat up the house, and it just tastes like summer.

I went to Whole Foods for the first time yesterday and picked up all of our ingredients for a summer meal - NY strip steaks, yellow squash, tomatoes, and potatoes. The closest Whole Foods is 30 minutes from us...I think they really need to put one in our town! Amazing produce, organic meats, and a lot of other interesting ingredients.

When we were ready to cook, I seasoned the steaks with salt and pepper and Jon grilled them. Perfect grill marks and great, simple flavor.

For the squash, I simply sliced it lengthwise, drizzled it with some olive oil, and seasoned the slices with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of paprika. I did the same with the tomato halves. SO delicious!

Finally, the potatoes. I pierced each one a few times with a fork, rubbed the skins with olive oil, and then seasoned them with salt and pepper. I wrapped them in foil and they cooked on the grill for about 40 minutes. We topped them with butter, sour cream and garlic chives.

We enjoyed this fabulous dinner with a great bottle of 2005 Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon - incredible!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eggplant Parm

Eggplant parm is something I like to order in restaurants, but I have never cooked it myself. That is, until last week.

I picked up a nice looking eggplant knowing that Jon wouldn't be home for dinner one night - he wouldn't touch the stuff! I have made chicken parm and similar cheesy-baked chicken dishes before, so just made this one up as I went along.

Before cooking with eggplant, slice it, toss with some salt, let it sit in a colander for about 30 minutes to draw out some of the water. Rinse and pat dry.

  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into rounds
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Breadcrumbs mixed with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Cheese - I used some fresh mozzarella as well as some Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil, chiffonaded
  • Sauce - I used jarred sauce (!!!!) instead of spending the time to make my own.


  • Heat olive oil in a large pan; preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Dip eggplant in flour, egg, flour egg, then breadcrumbs. This double-dip method makes a thicker crust
  • Place in the pan and fry for 2 min on each side, or until golden brown
  • Spread some sauce in a baking dish
  • Place fried eggplant in the dish; top with more sauce, cheese, and fresh basil
  • Bake on 375 for 10 minutes

I served the eggplant with thin spaghetti tossed in the sauce.

When you can buy a beautiful eggplant for $1.49, there is no reason to order this from a restaurant! It was absolutely delicious, and I can't decide which I liked better - the ones topped with mozzarella (on the left) or the others topped with Parmesan (on the right). The fresh basil is a must, dried just would not work and wouldn't give the fresh, bright, herby (is that a word?) finish on top.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Grilled Filet Mignon with a Whiskey Reduction

I picked up filet mignon at Wegman's yesterday. We planned on grilling them, and Jon decided he wanted to make a sauce.

He was brainstorming and decided that he wanted to use whiskey as the base.

Here is the funny part - he wanted to cook the sauce and grill the steaks. So he was running in and out of the house manning the grill and the stove. All I had to do was
roast the cauliflower, which is my favorite way to prepare and eat cauliflower.


  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 c whiskey
  • 1/4 c brandy
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp cream; Jon used half and half


  • Heat olive oil and butter in a small saucepan
  • Add garlic and shallots; saute 2 min
  • Remove pan from the heat and add the whiskey and brandy; bring to a simmer for 10 minutes to reduce.
  • Add balsamic vinegar, let simmer a few more minutes
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and shallots
  • Add cream and pepper; let simmer for a few more minutes.
  • Serve over steak

This sauce reminded me a lot of my Filet Au Poivre. It was creamy and sweet, but had a nice punch from the peppercorns. We both agreed that it could have used just a touch of salt, but it was still good without it. Good job, Jon!

A Variation on My Chicken Caprese Recipe

Anyone in the Mid-Atlantic states knows what I mean when I say that we are having the most amazing summer weather this month. Blue skies, temps in the high 70s to low 80s, and no humidity. This weather reminds me of San Diego where the weather is always perfect.

This weather has a lot of influence on how I eat, too.. it makes me crave fresh, light flavors. So I used that as my inspiration for Saturday's dinner along with some ingredients I had in the house - boneless chicken breasts, plum tomatoes, fresh basil, and a ball of fresh mozzarella.

Last summer I made a dish that I called
Chicken Caprese, a dish of flour dredged and pan seared chicken topped with fresh tomatoes and cold mozzarella and basil. Those flavors are so refreshing to me, but I wanted to change it up a bit by making the chicken crispier and melting the cheese a bit.

A few major differences in the way I cooked it this time -

- I breaded the chicken and fried it instead of just dredging it in flour. My breading method is flour, egg, flour, egg, and then breadcrumbs. This double-dipping method gives it a thicker coating.
- I flash-cooked the tomatoes in the tomato-wine mixture I had simmering for the pasta before putting them on the chicken
- I put the cooked tomatoes and fresh mozzarella on the chicken and then put the dish under the broiler to melt and heat everything instead of serving it caprese style, or cold.

Below is my recipe.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs mixed with a touch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 4 leaves chiffonaded basil
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • 1/2 lb cooked spaghetti - I like using a thin pasta like vermicelli, angel hair, or capellini for this dish
  • 1/2 c reserved cooking liquid from the pasta


  • Pound chicken just a bit, then coat it with some olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. I then put it in the fridge for 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350; also start to boil a pot of water for the pasta.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan
  • Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg, repeat to double dip it. Then coat chicken in the breadcrumbs and add to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer chicken to a baking dish and put in the oven (no more than 10 min in the oven)
  • At this point your water should be boiling so you can cook the pasta.
  • Add 1/2 tbsp olive oil to the pan.
  • Add garlic, saute 1 min
  • Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up all brown bits.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and let simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Move the chopped tomatoes to the side and add the sliced tomatoes and let cook for 1 min. This is so you aren't putting raw tomatoes on top of the chicken.
  • Take the chicken out of the oven, top with the sliced tomatoes, a few slices of mozzarella, half of the basil, and a touch of freshly ground black pepper (pepper is optional). Return to the oven on broil for 2 minutes.
  • Add reserved cooking liquid from the pasta to the tomato/garlic/wine mixture. Let simmer.
  • Toss pasta in the tomato/garlic/wine mixture. You could also mix in some mini mozzarella balls or tiny pieces of mozzarella at this point.
  • Serve chicken over the pasta.

Look how the fresh mozzarella started to melt... mmm!

Jon prefers pork and beef over chicken, but he's always a good sport when I make chicken for him. And he has to admit that I always try to make it interesting and full of flavor! No bland chicken in our house! Well, even HE said "wow, this chicken is really good!" That is huge coming from him.

I also loved it. The chicken had so much flavor from sitting with the oil, garlic, and oregano for a few hours. The tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella on top of the chicken tasted just like summer - light and fresh.

So which recipe wins - my original or this one? We both have to say this one for a few reasons. The chicken had so much flavor, we liked the crunch from the breading, and slightly melting the mozzarella was the perfect topping.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Curried Tofu with Tomatoes and Broccoli

Whenever Jon isn't home for dinner I cook something for myself that he wouldn't eat. Tofu and tomatoes? Nope, he wouldn't eat them.

I make a lot of tofu dishes, but instead of pulling out an old standby, I decided to try something different tonight. I had several tomatoes to use up, which led me to find
this recipe for Sauteed Asparagus with Curried Tofu and Tomatoes. After reading it, I wasn't sure why it had me boiling the tofu in salt water before sauteing it. I did some research and found out that cooking the tofu in salt water first helps it to stay firm and to absorb flavors when cooking it. Who knew! You learn something new every day.

I liked parts of the recipe, but not all of it. So I went back to
my recipe for Sauteed Curried Chicken with Peppers that I made a few months ago. It had the flavors I was craving. So I took the two recipes, combined parts of them, made up a few new things, and came up with this recipe for Curried Tofu with Tomatoes and Broccoli.


  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • Pot of boiling salt water (about 1 tbsp salt)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a small onion, halved then sliced (for smaller slices)
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp curry powder; I used yellow
  • 1 c chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped


  • Add the block of tofu to the pot of boiling water. Let it simmer in the water for 5 minutes. Remove from the water onto a paper towel. Press out some of the water and chop into cubes.
  • Heat oil in a saute pan.
  • Add tofu and cook 6-8 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove tofu from the pan.
  • Add onion and garlic to the pan, saute 1 minute.
  • Add broccoli and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add brown sugar and curry powder, followed by the broth and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer.
  • Return tofu to the pan and add the tomatoes. Let simmer 5 minutes.

How beautiful is this? Yes, you know me...I love the colors.

I loved this. I couldn't get enough of it! I did leave some to have for lunch tomorrow and I can't wait. It had amazing flavor, was a touch sweet but not too much, and had complex flavors from the curry powder.

I am so pleased with the results of this new recipe creation and highly recommend it to anyone who loves tofu, or to anyone who has always wanted to try it.

Mongolian Beef

Who doesn't love take-out Chinese food? Ok, I'm sure there are some people, but I'm not one of them. When I was growing up, my parents would get it for us maybe once a month, and then we'd also go to restaurants in Philadelphia's Chinatown a few times a year. There were some great Chinese restaurants in Philadelphia...

But around here, not so much. That's why I have re-created so many take-out recipes at home. Not only have they been delicious, I'm also controlling the ingredients, calories, sodium, and fat.

My latest experiment with make-at-home-take-out was last night - Mongolian Beef. I followed
this recipe, a PF Changes copycat recipe found on the Recipe Zaar web site, with just a few changes.

The recipe didn't not include a step for marinating meat, and when working with flank steak (or sirloin strips like I did), I think it's important to marinate it mostly to tenderize it. So I marinated the sirloin strips in soy sauce, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes before starting the recipe.


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (I used light - it was all I had)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup) (I used much less than this)
  • 1 lb flank steak (I used sirloin strips)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large green onions

Directions (I changed the cooking method slightly so these are my notes)
  • Marinate the meat as noted above
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger; saute 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, and water. Bring to a steady simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in the same pan over medium heat until it's nice and hot, but not smoking.
  • Add the beef to the oil and sauté for several minutes until beef is brown on all sides
  • Return sauce the the pan and let simmer for several minutes.
  • Mix in half of the green onions; use the remaining onions as garnish.
  • Serve over rice

Of all the fake-out take-out meals I have made at home, this one tasted the most like real take-out. Jon and I both loved it, and my dad was happy to get the leftovers for lunch today. I'd highly recommend this one!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I won something??!!!

I never win anything! But one day, while looking at one of my favorite blogs, Joelen's Culinary Adventures, I came across her Foodie Freebie Friday giveaway. I decided to enter, and I won!

I am a bit late on this, but here is the
Foodie Freebie Friday announcement.

The apron arrived a few days later, and I couldn't wait to use it. It is the cutest thing, doesn't look like your traditional apron at all, and I love wearing it.

Thanks, Joelen!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Guest Blogger: Jon's Gin Pork Chops

My husband creates the most amazing marinades for meat, and he delivered with another great one today. Here is his post...

Mary Ellen picked up some beautiful thick-cut boneless pork chops, and I went rooting through the cupboards and refrigerator to find something for a marinade. In earlier marinades, I’ve normally used olive oil as a base, and built up some great flavors from there. I’ve used bourbon, scotch, tequila and even sake along with the usual suspects of garlic, pepper, etc, but today something occurred to me –

perhaps some of the best marinade bases could be found in the liquor cabinet.

Tequila seemed a little too easy; I just used sake last week; and I couldn’t even look at the scotch since getting ‘acquainted’ with a bottle of Macallan the other night, and then I found the bottle of gin. It occurred to me that one of the great summer drinks is a gin and tonic, so why not use that as inspiration for a marinade? Here’s what I used:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of half of the lime
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

A couple things really helped this marinade: first, use a microplane for the garlic. In other marinades, I’ve usually used a garlic press or a fine chop with a knife, but the microplane yielded an extremely fine paste that incorporated into the lime juice and gin much better than little chunks. Additionally, chop the cilantro as finely as possible; as with the garlic, it’ll work into the other flavors much better.

I tenderized (perforated) the pork chops with a fork several times and then put them into a zip-top bag with the marinade. The flavors got to know each other for about 9 hours in the refrigerator before hitting the grill. This ended up being my favorite marinade yet, and served with Mary Ellen’s
antipasto pasta salad and some roasted Brussels sprouts, this was a great and easy summer dish.

Antipasto Pasta Salad

Happy Birthday, America!!

My parents were having a little get together to celebrate the 4th of July. They made the BEST beer braised ribs along with my mom's homemade cole slaw. I offered to bring pasta salad, but of course wanted to come up with something new.

I love antipasto - the marinated veggies, meats, and cheeses - so used that as my inspiration for this Antipasto Pasta Salad.

Mix these ingredients -

  • 2 lbs rotini, cooked and rinsed in cold water
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, blanched then put into cold water, then diagonally sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, seeds and pulp removed, quartered
  • ½ lb Provolone cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 lb pepperoni, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ c chopped fresh parsley (a touch of fresh basil would work well, too)
  • Optional veggies: sliced mushrooms, artichokes (I didn't use these, but if I did, I'd mix them in right before serving so they didn't get too mushy)

The dressing - combine the below ingredients, toss with the pasta salad, and let sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Toss everything again before serving, and adjust seasonings, if needed. I added a touch of salt on day 2.


  • 1.5 c olive oil
  • ¾ c red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
Everyone loved this pasta salad and it was even better today. Hope everyone enjoyed this absolutely beautiful weekend.