Primavera Pasta Salad

While combing through my thick binder of favorite saved recipes this morning, I came across the menu and guest list for my son’s first birthday party in 1985.  The menu was an ambitious buffet entirely from the original Silver Palate Cookbook, except for the clown birthday cake from Montilio’s Bakery.

Following the pre-luncheon nibbles, there was Chicken Marbella, Glazed Corned Beef,  New Potato Salad, Tossed Green Salad, and Pasta Primavera Gregory – a pasta dish originally wrtitten for fettuccine, but which I had undoubtedly adapted into a more fork-friendly pasta salad.

Thirty-three years later, the taste memory was sufficient to reimagine what I had done to put together this pasta salad bursting with color, flavor, and texture:


inspired by The Silver Palate



8 ounces good Italian rotini, cooked al dente

1/4  cup finely chopped red onion

2 Tbsp EVOO

6 ounces snap peas or snow peas, blanched, shocked, and sliced thinly on the diagonal

4 scallions sliced thinly on the diagonal (about 1/3 cup)

1/3 cup diced roasted red peppers or same amount fresh red bell pepper

1/2 cup seeded & chopped ripe tomato

6 ounces thinly sliced Boar’s Head Rosemary Ham, broken by hand into small pieces

1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives

2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano

2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

1/2 tbsp dried oregano

Grated zest of one lemon

S&P to taste


Drain the pasta and toss it with the olive oil and chopped onion in a very large bowl.  Add the next six ingredients, toss again.  Add the cheese, vinegar, oregano and lemon zest, toss again.  Season to taste with S&P and serve immediately or chill.

This makes enough for 3-4 servings for a light lunch, or 6-8 as a side dish with dinner.  If chilled, take it out of the fridge about a half hour before serving to allow all the flavors to come through.





Cobb Salad Redux

The last time I posted about Cobb salad was nearly three years ago – so long ago that I’d forgotten and had to check my blog post history.  It’s a favorite for dinner any time of year, but especially in warmer months when one wishes for a meal that requires no cooking.

All one needs is some really fresh, crisp romaine, a ripe avocado, red onion, crumbled bacon, your favorite blue cheese (mine is Societé roquefort, hands down), HB eggs, tomatoes, a pre-cooked quantity of chicken either from store-bought rotisserie or a package of grilled chicken pieces such as those from Trader Joe’s, and a really good dressing.

I do not like my Cobb salad composed with ingredients separated.  If it’s served that way at a restaurant, I ask that they toss it together for me.  The beauty of this salad is getting a little of each flavor with every forkful.

This is what we had for last night’s dinner, with just a few Stacey’s Parmesan Pita Chips for crunch:




Whisk into an emulsion the following – 4 Tbsp EVOO, 4 tsp white balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp finely sliced shallot, 2 tsp whole grain mustard, 2 tsp honey or maple syrup, S&P to taste.


Tear a head of romaine into pieces and divide between two large plates.

Add sliced red onion, chopped tomatoes (preferably Campari), and avocado, cut into 1/2″ chunks.

Toss each plate with about 2 Tbsp dressing.

Add crumbled bacon, shredded or chopped chicken (4-6 ounces each plate, depending on appetite),  and blue cheese, and toss again with remaining dressing.

Place quartered HB eggs around edge of plate.  Add some pita chips if you need some carbohydrate crunch.