Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lightened-Up Warm Antipasto Pasta Salad

I recently watched an episode of America's Test Kitchen where they made an Antipasto Pasta Salad. I loved their technique and how they used the dressing to marinate and cook mushrooms. Although, I didn't use mushrooms in this recipe, since I forgot to buy them, (ugh!), I still want to try their method of cooking them right in the dressing. They made a dressing of red wine vinegar, EV olive oil, mayonnaise, some juice from a jar of pepperonicinis, and spices.

They bring a small amount of this dressing to a simmer in large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the mushrooms until they release their juices and are lightly browned or about 8 minutes. Doesn't that sound delicious? Who would have thought of cooking mushrooms in a dressing? I think I am going to try making mushrooms like this soon, just for a side dish.

Anyway, I lightened up their recipe and decided to make it a warm dish. Since the weather was still sort of cool in the New England area, I wanted something that would warm me up.
But it can easily be served at room temperature or cold as well.

You can use what ever cheese you have on hand and also play around with the meats as well. I chose turkey because it is so light, but even chicken or ham would work here and still be light.

Lightened-Up Warm Antipasto Pasta Salad
Inspired by America's Test Kitchen

4 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni, cut into 1/4" strips
1/2 lb. roasted turkey breast halved and cut into 1/4" strips (I bought one - thick cut slice of Boar's Head Oven Roasted Turkey breast)
7 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon juice from a jar of pepperoncinis (optional)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound campanelle or fusilli, (I recommend Barilla)
3/4 lb. broccoli, cut into small florets and stems peeled and cut into 1/4" thick slices
1/2 avocado, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4" strips
12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and cut into 1/4" strips
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise, pepperoncini juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 1/3 cup of dressing to a separate small bowl and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, steam or boil broccoli for about 5-6 minutes, or until crisp tender.
Drain and add the 1/3 cup of reserved dressing to the same pot, bring to a simmer and toss in the broccoli. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer to large bowl.

Cook pasta according to package instructions or until al dente. Drain pasta, return to pot, and toss with remaining dressing.

Add turkey, turkey pepperoni, cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers, avocado, parsley, and pasta to broccoli and toss well. Season with additional salt and pepper. Serve at warm or at room temperature. Salad can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Lovely, lighter version!!

Elyse said...

Wow, this recipe sounds great! Sorry you forgot the mushrooms--I do that kind of thing all the time, but the dish looks fabulous without them!

Sara said...

I had an antipasto salad at a restaurant the other day, it was lackluster. Your version looks much better :)

Emily said...

This looks so delicious and light! That's an interesting type of pasta you have there.

It's cold here today, too. Might snow! And I'm in southern MO.

Unknown said...

ooh, i am not usually one for antipasto, but your ingredients i'm all in for :) i couldn't find any good mushrooms this week that weren't an arm and a leg...

Maria said...

Great color in this dish. Looks very tasty!

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Jescel said...

love this... light and healthy!

Sara said...

That sounds so delicious!

Artfully Yours said...

Happy Easter Annie!
All the new recipes sound mouth watering!!

Anonymous said...

This is great Annie,great presentation and the pasta salad is delicioso,bambola.