CSA Week 8: Jen & Derek’s Organic Farm – Spinach Caprese Pasta Salad

caprese saladI’m so glad to be home after being away for almost two weeks.  One of the things that I missed the most are Jen & Derek’s fantastic veggies!  After eating the mediocre vegetables from the supermarket for a few weeks, I was so happy to have fresh, crisp vegetables that were picked the same day.

 

Tonight’s dinner was inspired from a recipe that was given to me by my Aunt.  I loved the idea of this pasta but found it a little plain, so I pumped up the flavour by adding some pesto and white wine vinegar to the dressing and by adding a few more vegetables to the mix.  This gave the pasta salad the boost of flavour that I was craving.  Crisp spinach and fresh basil layered underneath juicy tomatoes accompanied with green onions, fresh mozzarella cheese, hot pasta, and dressing.  It was mouth-watering!

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Spinach Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves: 6
Cook time: 15 minutes

For the salad:
1 bunch of fresh spinach, about 4 cups
10-12 large basil leaves, chopped
4 small tomatoes or 10 grape tomatoes, small chop, add more if you really like tomatoes
4 green onions, small dice
10 large slices of fresh mozzarella (you can use any mozzarella, but I like fresh the best)
3-4 cups of freshly cooked hot pasta

For the dressing:
1/2 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh pesto
lots of freshly ground pepper

Start by cooking the pasta and begin to layer the salad in your favourite large serving bowl while the pasta cooks.  The goal is to have the salad ready to top with the hot pasta as soon as it finishes cooking.  Layer the salad in the following order: spinach, basil, tomatoes, green onions and fresh mozzarella.   Stir together the dressing and set aside.

When the pasta is finished cooking, quickly drain and place directly on top of the salad immediately.  Pour the dressing around evenly on top of the pasta.  It’s important not to stir the salad to keep the layers intact.  Cover the bowl for 5-10 minutes, just enough time to warm the cheese and melt it a little.  When serving, I like to just get a big scoop, from top to bottom, making sure to get some of the spinach instead of tossing it together.  This gives the dish an interesting look when serving.  Enjoy!  P.S. leftovers are even better the next day cold, if there is any left.

 

I learned that I shouldn’t leave the large bowl of pasta in the dining room alone with the three year old.  I came back in to find her stuffing her face as fast as she could before I returned.  That’s a sure sign that a recipe is a winner in my household.

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