The only thing I love about the cold winters up here in New Hampshire is the food we get to eat. Warm, hearty, home-cooked meals that really just hit the spot. They are not only delicious but comforting. A new favorite of mine that I am sure will be being made numerous times during this cold season is my new recipe for a hot pasta salad. The salty Parmesan cheese with the sweet vegetables and succulent seasonings creates a frenzy of delicious flavors for your palate. I can guarantee that it will leave you craving for more. The other great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Say you don’t have white truffle oil (I know it is quite expensive, and not desired by all), you can use a different seasoning, say garlic. Or if you don’t want carrots, you could use tomato or zucchini, anything you like. It’s also very quick; it takes maybe twenty minutes at the most.
On a different note, always chop your ingredients before measuring them because this will differ the amount you put in.
Hot Vegetable Pasta Salad
1 16 oz. box of pasta
1-2 Tb. chives
1-2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
1 Tb. fresh basil
1 cup julienned carrots (or whatever vegetable you prefer)
1 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. white truffle oil (optional)
salt and pepper
Boil pasta for the suggested time on the box. Before putting the pasta in, salt the water with about one tablespoon of salt. Julienne the carrots. Chop any other vegetables into bite size chunks. Cut the ends of the scallions off, about one inch up from the tip of the white part, and cut them into about one to two centimeter disks. Give these a rough chop. Roll all of the basil leaves together length-wise into one little bundle and chop them the same as the scallions. Mince up the chives as well. If you want to add in garlic instead of truffle oil mince one to two cloves. In a medium sauté pan add in the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and vegetables and sauté over medium-low heat for two to three minutes. Add in the fresh herbs and keep cooking for an additional minute. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and pour it into a large serving dish. Pour the olive oil, vegetables, and herbs over the hot pasta. Add one to two cups of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, depending on your taste, and stir until it is all melted in. If you want some mozzarella as well for a gooey-er factor, stir it in now as well. If you have white truffle oil on hand and want to add it, drizzle a tiny bit over the pasta and mix in. Add a maximum of one teaspoon; white truffle oil is very strong. Mix together well and add in salt and pepper to taste, if needed, although the salt probably won’t be needed.
Serve immediately, it is best when served fresh and hot.