Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Presto Pasta Night: A Cool Dish for a Warm Night

Wow! I can't belive we are half way through the week already! Good thing too because it is going to be a bake-fest in my kitchen this weekend but that isn't what this post is about because we are ready for another installment of Presto Pasta Night, the weekly event hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.

The first really warm night of the year was last night. When I got back to Fairfield from work it was 7pm and it was a sticky and humid 82 degrees!! Needless to say, the thought of fixing warm food after a hot commute home was not enticing. Figuring I'd just eat a bowl of cold cereal, take a cool shower and lie on top the sheets with the fan pointed at me while I read, I started to pull out the milk from little fridge when I saw the three cheese tortellini I had picked up this week on a whim. Now that would make a good pasta salad, I had thought to myself when I bought them. So, what is a girl faced with the choice between pasta salad or Special K suppose to do? Well, she makes pasta of course!

While the tortellini cooked in the microwave, I rummaged around in my pantry area (3 milk crates stacked in my closet) looking for things to add to the pasta salad and came up with a small can of ham, dried shredded carrots from a veggie salad mix I didn't really like, and some dried thyme. I had a pack of baby peas in the freezer and 1/4 packet of shredded sharp cheddar cheese along with a squeeze bottle of Light Miracle Whip in the fridge door.

The perfect makings for a cool and delicious pasta salad; ready to eat almost faster than I could finish opening the bottle of wine...

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad

Makes one serving

1/2 package of three cheese tortellini (fresh from the deli case)
1 small can of ham or chicken
1/4 cup of frozen peas
1/8 cup of shredded carrots (I used dehydrated but you can use fresh)
1/8 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 cup light salad dressing or mayonnaise
1/8 tsp of thyme
fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat 2 cups of water to boiling in the microwave. Put tortellini in a microwave safe dish with a lid and cover with boiling water, put lid on and let sit for 4 minutes. Open can of ham and shred in a bowl, add peas and carrots if using fresh. If using dehydrated carrots, add to tortellini and microwave for 4 minutes. Let tortellini and carrots stand for 2 minutes, drain and cool with cold water. Add to ham and veggie mixture. Combine with salad dressing and thyme. Add cheese and top with fresh ground pepper.

Serve with a nice glass of rose or white wine.