I love when autumn arrives. I totally change how we eat when the evenings become a little cooler. I put away the grill and start thinking a little differently on how I will be preparing our meals.
This is a great little pasta salad. I prefer to serve it warm or room temperature, but it can certainly be made up to one day in advance, refrigerated, then serve chilled.
I didn’t have any cherry tomatoes on hand this day so I chose to use the sun-ripened dried tomatoes. They added a nice sweetness and chewy texture.
I can totally see this dish converted into a lovely roasted butternut squash, roasted sweet potato and corn pasta salad with the same delicious vinaigrette. Instead of using basil, throw in a little cilantro instead. My mouth is watering just thinking about that combination.
First I roasted my corn in a skillet with a little bit of butter. Season with a little salt and pepper. Once you see a few “brown” pieces of corn, they are done. Set aside.
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with foil (so much easier to clean-up) Place your vegetables on the pan and toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If you like things a little spicy sprinkle in just a little bit of crushed red pepper.
In a large bowl combine your cooked pasta, corn and roasted vegetables.
Mix together your vinaigrette and finely chop the basil.
Toss the vinaigrette onto the salad. I reserve a little if we aren’t going to eat it right away. The pasta tends to “drink up” the vinaigrette, so to perk it back up I toss a little bit of the reserved vinaigrette in right before serving.
Now toss in the freshly grated Parmesan. Using the best Parmesan you can find will make a world of difference.
Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with what veggies you use for this dish. Roasting veggies really brings out their natural sweetness. Enjoy!
Warm Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables
1 large sweet onion, or 2 small (use Vidallia, OhSoSweets, WallaWalla)
4 medium zucchini, sliced
3 bell peppers, red and/or yellos, cored, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips
2 cups cherry tomatoes (can also use sun-dried tomatoes in addition to or in place of)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh (about 4 ears) or frozen/defrosted corn kernels
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound fusilli, bow ties, or penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (if you don’t have sherry vinegar, just use rice vinegar)
1-2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the onions, zucchini, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper and toss with the olive oil to coat evenly. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning the vegetables once during cooking.
In a large skillet melt the butter and add the corn. Lightly salt and pepper the corn. Stir frequently and once you see a little caramelising (deep golden brown) on the corn, it is done. Set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well.
Place the pasta in a large bowl, add the vegetables to the pasta and mix well.
To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the mustard, garlic, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended. Pour over the pasta and vegetables. Then sprinkle the chopped basil and Parmesan to mix to combine evenly. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can also refrigerate and serve chilled.