One of the things I love most about writing this food blog is that I get to try foods I've never had before. So when Hodgson Mill sent me boxes of their new Whole Wheat pasta to experiment with for their Summer Pastabilities contest, I couldn't wait to start playing with it!
I have to admit that up to this point, I haven't been a huge fan of whole grain pastas and I've tried quite a few - they were either tough or doughy or just downright unappealing so I was a little skeptical. But this pasta is different - tender and flavorful, with just a hint of nuttiness - in short, it's delicious!!
After narrowing down my ideas I decided to try my hand at a pasta salad - another dish that isn't always high on my "favorites" list despite the fact that I love pasta. My objection? For the most part I've found them to be bland and well.. boring, which is a shame, since pasta salads are perfect for summer eating and are a great choice for picnics, barbeques and potlucks.
Since I love the flavors of chile, lime and tomatoes I thought that would be a great base to start from - and if my "taste testers" are to be believed, I was right. To add a bit more flavor, I roasted corn, tomatoes and peppers and then added a little avocado and sliced green onion, finishing it all off with a zesty lime and chile dressing . Now this is a mexican pasta salad!!!
I was compensated by Hodgson Mill for this recipe but as always, all opinions stated are entirely my own.
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- 1 – 10 oz. box Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pasta – bowtie or medium shells
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 3 quarts water
- 2 ears of fresh corn kernels cut off the cob
- 6 roma tomatoes cored and cut into ½ inch dice
- 1 large orange bell pepper seeded and cut into ½ inch dice
- 1 large avocado peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch dice
- 3 scallions sliced ¼ inch thick
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- 3 Tbsp. corn oil
- Corn Strip garnish optional_
- 2 small corn torillas cut into ⅛ inch strips (optional)
- 1 cup canola oil optional
- Juice of two limes
- 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey
- ½ - 1 jalepeno seeded and minced
- ¼ tsp. chile powder
- large pinch of salt
- ¾ cup corn oil
- Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the chicken stock and water in a large saucepan or stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and stir until the water is boiling vigorously. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes until desired tenderness. Drain pasta and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine the corn, tomatoes and bell pepper on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle with the 3 Tbsp. corn oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 15 – 20 minutes until vegetables are nicely browned. Remove pan from the oven and set aside.
- To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, white wine vinegar, jalepeno, agave nectar, chile powder and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the corn oil. Set dressing aside.
- Corn strip garnish (optional): Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. When oil just begins to simmer, drop one of the tortilla strips in the oil. Cook for 2 minutes until nicely browned. If browning too quickly, reduce heat. Add the tortilla strips in small batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Using a slotted spoon, remove the strips from the oil and drain on several layers of paper towels. Dust with chile powder and salt while still warm. Set aside.
- To make the salad, place the pasta in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables and drizzle the dressing on. Toss to thoroughly mix and taste, adding more dressing if desired.
- Gently mix in the avocado, scallions and cilantro. Garnish with the tortilla strips if using.