A Totally Different Pasta Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
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A mayo-less pasta salad made from nothing more than boiled veggies. I simplified this recipe from its original version so that all the veggies cook at once. Don't skimp on parsley, olive oil, or black pepper, lest your salad end up bland.
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 large russet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice (about ¾ cups)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch dice (about ½ cup)
  • 1 small onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 zucchini, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 pound dried cavatappi pasta (or other shortish shape)
  • 2 to 4 medium cloves garlic, minced with salt til pulverized, or grated on a Microplane (use the smaller amount if you’re not really a garlic person, the larger if you totally are)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and salt it for cooking pasta (use a lot!). Add the potato and set a timer for 2 minutes. Add the fennel and carrot and set a timer for another 2 minutes. Now add the onion and set another 2-minute timer. Finally, add the yellow pepper and the zucchini and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the potato pieces are very easily crushed with a fork.
  2. Use a slotted spoon or fine strainer to scoop out all the veggies from the water, transferring them to a large bowl. Leave the water boiling in the pot. Don’t worry if you can’t catch every last piece of diced veggie - they’re all going to the same place.
  3. Add the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions. Drain, saving 1 cup of pasta-cooking water
  4. While the pasta is cooking, mix the minced garlic, olive oil, and parsley to vegetables, and stir thoroughly until potatoes have broken down for form a chunky puree. Season with salt and pepper and taste for balance of flavors—it should be rich, salty, and a little spicy.
  5. Mix in the drained pasta and the cheese. Add the cooking water a few drips at a time until the sauce coats the pasta. Eat warm, or cool to room temperature and serve as pasta salad. You can also make in advance and store overnight in the fridge. Leave on the counter for an hour or so, to take the chill off.
Recipe by Big Girls Small Kitchen at http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2016/06/a-totally-different-pasta-salad.html