Italian Summer Pasta Salad

 Italian Summer Pasta Salad1

 

After radio silence for 3 weeks, I’m back. Again. Can’t say for how long but I am here. So how are things guys? Here, monsoon has almost arrived and summer is officially over (for good!). But here I am, with a huge backlog of summer recipes. What am I to do when all these days I have been cooking all things “summery” regularly but not getting time to post them. Let’s just say that it is still summer somewhere in the world, right?! 😉

I love anything and everything Italian so when I came across this pretty looking salad on Sommer’s amazing blog I knew I had to get to it pronto. It is so good and SO refreshing! Zests of orange and lemon, al dente pasta, orange chunks, tiny tomatoes and torn basil all tied together with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to love? Must try, whatever time of year it is for you.

I hope you’re having an awesome weekend.
Stay cozy, it’s gonna be a rainy one! xx

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad3

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad

Recipe scaled down & adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Yield: 2-3 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat Farfalle pasta
  • 1 naval orange, zest and orange segments
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup scallions, cut into 1 inch segments
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the orange and lemon. Place the zest and the juice of lemon in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk. Peel the orange, gently break the segments apart and seed them. Place them in the bowl.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Then pour the drained pasta over the tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Add the scallions and basil leaves to the bowl and toss. Salt and pepper generously, about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: I didn’t have scallions at hand so I had to skip them but they are highly recommended as it’d add some crunch & make the dish all the more flavorsome. 🙂

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad2

Mango Cucumber Salsa

Mango Cucumber Salsa1
Hi! Trying to compensate my absence with back to back posts. I need to blog all the summer recipes I’ve made before the rainy season officially starts and I am really lagging behind. I thought at least I’ll give you this mango salsa recipe before mango season is ends. This salsa is a perfect accompaniment to your chips and a great side to grilled chicken or lamb chops.
I don’t remember how many bowls of this sunshine I have devoured this summer. It is my absolute favorite. I eat chips just so that I can have salsa (or any other dips/condiment for that matter!!) and end up having it by spoonfuls in lieu of chips! I have a couple of peaches sitting in my fridge, waiting to be used up & I most certainly plan of turning them in to this salsa sans cucumber this evening (with mint of course!).
Enjoy& be patient.
Weekend is almost here! 😉
Mango Cucumber Salsa2
Mango Cucumber Salsa:
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 0 minute | Total time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ripe mango, sliced, pitted & finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • Salt & freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade (can be subbed with coriander leaves)
  • Juice from 1 lemon

Don’t know what is basil chiffonade? – Pioneer woman tells you here!

Directions:

Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve (about 3-4 hours max otherwise it turns mushy). Serve with your favorite chips or a meat of choice.

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Salad1

 

It’s my Mother’s Birthday today! She is the most special woman in my life. She is my first best friend and I have had heaps of special moments with her. She handed down so many traits of hers to me… We both love bags, shoes, clothes and FOOD! She is such an awesome cook!

As already confessed in my intro page, I never learnt to cook before I got married and being such a great cook that she is, my mom was quite concerned about that part. She sincerely wrote down all her recipes in a diary for my convenience and gifted it to me on my D-day. That is my most prized possession and a lovely gesture on my mom’s part! I should soon get down to posting few of her special recipes!

Among many things my mother and I share, we both LOVE pasta! So aptly, I am posting a very simple pasta salad which is very refreshing and flavorful. I’m sure my mom would have enjoyed this thoroughly if I could make this for her at home for tonight’s celebration. But we are distanced by miles hence a virtual birthday dish will have to suffice! 😦

 

Caprese Salad2

 

I love Caprese in any and every form!

You must remember I once created this unusual ice-cream with it and these skewers served with pesto!

This time I brought together 2 of my favorites and created this dee-lish caprese pasta salad. Of course with a twist… I added capers for a little tang! And it really did wonders. This salad is so beautiful, adorned with pear tomatoes and bursting with basil! Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Happiest of Birthday Mother! Cheers!!!

Caprese Salad3

Caprese Pasta Salad
Servings: 4-5 as a side and 2-3 as a light lunch/dinner
Ingredients:
For salad:
  • 2 heaping cups bow-tie pasta
  • Around 20-25 pear tomatoes, sliced
  • 25-30 small cubes of Mozzarella
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained & washed
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
For dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in generously salted boiling water according to package directions till al-dante. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, sliced tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese cubes, capers and toss.
  3. In a small bowl, take all the ingredients mentioned under dressing and whisk.
  4. Add the dressing to the large bowl of salad ingredients and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let it chill in refrigerator for half an hour. Top with sliced basil leaves just before serving.

Caprese Skewers & Spinach Walnut Pesto

Caprese Skewers1

So I made some Caprese skewers.. They are so dang cute! Of course there is absolutely no need of a recipe to make them. It’s just cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and Mozzarella cheese on thrown together on a stick seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That simple! Making these is a child’s play and they’ll rock any party! It can be served as an appetizer or as a last course with favorite cocktail or wine! 😉

I served these skewers with spinach walnut pesto.. Hmm… seems interesting?! Require a recipe for another quick pesto? Then read on.. I have told time and again that pesto is my fave. It is so versatile. I made a big enough batch for only 2 of us in the house and served it with these skewers, made dinner with some spaghetti, threw some in my breakfast omelet and made some grilled cheese for lunch. Phew!

So let’s get down to the recipe business!

Caprese Skewers:

Ingredients:

  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • fresh Mozzarella balls
  • basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, as per taste

Directions:

Skewer the cherry tomatoes alternating with basil leaves and Mozzarella balls. Once they are all skewered, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and serve alongside spinach walnut pesto.

Spinach Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted or untoasted (I’m lazy & used untoasted)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup olive oil to begin with, add more as and if required

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor till smooth puree is formed. Add more olive oil as and if required. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 4-5 days.

Spaghetti with Spinach Walnut Pesto

Grilled Cheese

Caprese Ice-cream

Does the title of this post shock you? Do you think it’s a typo? Nope… It is exactly what you read it is. Caprese Ice-cream… It has tomatoes, basil, Mozzarella cheese and whatever else an authentic Caprese Salad is supposed to have!

Caprese Ice-cream1

 

A perfect summer entrée for your guests!

It is the last day of the week-long ice-cream marathon going on here and I wanted to come up with an out-of-the-box flavor! A unique ice-cream which you have never read about on any other blog or probably (I’m just guessing) have never had it at any of the sophisticated restaurants! A treat I have specially created for you!

Our favorite summer salad made into an ice-cream!

It is actually a mix between ice-cream and sherbet.

It’s beautiful pink color will be a complete deception for your guests till they take a first bite of it!

It has a very refreshing kick from basil and is light on palate due to tomatoes.

We cook the tomatoes and basil leaves with olive oil on low-heat thus extracting basil flavors completely. The sieved puree is then mixed with Mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, sugar mayonnaise and whipped cream.. Freeze it overnight and just before serving blend it to a smooth consistency like how we made our frozen whip and serve immediately!

You can even add roasted~peeled~pureed red bell paper to add a different dimension to it!

Trust me it is a perfect start to your elaborate dinner party. Just double the recipe if serving a larger crowd.

Caprese Ice-cream2

Caprese Ice-cream

Serves: 4 | Serving: 1 scoop | Yields: 4 scoops

Ingredients:

  • 15-17 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper, as per taste
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp mayonnaise
  • A dash of lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Medium fat cream (40%)

Directions:

Add tomatoes, olive oil and basil leaves in a saucepan and cook it covered on a low-flame for about 4-5 minutes till the tomatoes have soften, stirring occasionally. Pass them through sieve to remove the skin, seeds and leaves.

Season the puree with salt and pepper. Add grated Mozzarella, mayonnaise and lemon juice to it.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream and sugar together till you get a soft peak. Fold in the tomato mixture in a cream mixture and scoop it in a airtight container. Freeze it overnight.

Just before serving, add the frozen ice-cream to your blender and process it till you get a smooth consistency. Scoop and serve in individual glasses topped with basil or mint leaves.

*The last step of blending before serving is MUST as the tomatoes have high water content and therefore the ice-cream straight out of the freezer will be icy.

Enjoy!

Mango & Banana Oatmeal Smoothie with a hint of Basil

Mango & Banana Oatmeal Smoothie with a hint of basil1

A true breakfast smoothie which is wholesome on its own and will keep you full till lunch hour.

This summer, I am trying to bring you as many mango recipes as possible before we run out of them for another year. Of course, we can freeze its chunks or pulp but it won’t be as good as having them fresh in the heat of summer when they are in abundance. Gosh! It would be good to be able to have mangoes all year round, isn’t it?! Anyways… I definitely plan on freezing lots and lots of mangoes til I run out of place in my freezer. Today’s recipe calls for frozen chunks of mango. So you can dice mango in pieces at night and freeze them overnight to make this smoothie in the morning.

Mango & Banana Oatmeal Smoothie with a hint of basil2

Mango and banana is a classic combo! You can’t go wrong with it. Juicy, succulent mango whipped with creamy bananas. Heaven!

I am going to use frozen chopped bananas as well. It helps me attain smooth, thick and luscious consistency. These have become a true staple in my house. I deliberately buy them only to chop them and toss them in airtight container to freeze away.

Added to this classic combo is spoonfuls of quick-cooking oats. Anyone who hates oats won’t even know you have put them in there! So great for those picky-eaters! (I mean kids, of course! Not me!!! 😛 )

The huge flavor kick comes from the basil leaves added to the smoothie. So it is must.. do not skip or it wont taste the same!

Another benefit of this smoothie is that it is sugar-free. Mangoes in my part of the world are super-sweet and bananas I used were overripe which means they were pretty sweet too which helped me in omitting the sugar completely. If you feel the mangoes you have got are not sweet enough, add spoonful of honey to your smoothie.

You can easily make this smoothie vegan by using coconut milk or soy milk. Personally, I think coconut milk would go really well with mango and banana.

Mango & Banana Oatmeal Smoothie with a hint of basil3

Mango & Banana Oatmeal Smoothie with a hint of Basil

Yields: 3 large or 4 small glasses

Ingredients:

  • Frozen chunks from 1 mango
  • Frozen chunks from 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cold water or a little more
  • 6-8 ice-cubes

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blitz them into smooth mixture. Add more water if consistency is too thick for you. Garnish with fresh cherry and serve immediately.

*Add 2 Tbsp of honey if mango used is not sweet enough.

Simple Summer Mac Salad with Tomato & Zucchini

Summer mac salad1

I love pasta in any and every form. Be it a hot or cold preparation. It’s my favorite at dinner time as it is pretty quick to put together and simple.

Especially this salad… It is perfect for summer nights when you are craving something light and refreshing! I particularly loath anything heavy for dinner… So this one ticks all the boxes for me! 🙂

I love this one so much that it’s been prepared 3 times already in my house! It was much appreciated by our guests too! Its an apt side-dish at any elaborate lunch or dinner parties and a must accompaniment for picnics! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Summer mac salad2

Simple Summer Mac Salad with Tomato & Zucchini

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams uncooked elbows
  • 200 grams grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp eggless mayonnaise (American Garden’s)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider/red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt
  •  2 tsp mustard (optional)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in generously salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine onions, mayonnaise, vinegar, yogurt, mustard, oregano, garlic powder, basil leaves; mix well.
  3. Add tomatoes (and any juice from the tomato), zucchini, pasta, salt and pepper to taste, toss well and place in a large bowl.
  4. Serve immediately or keep in fridge till the serving time.

Enjoy chilled with a glass of your favorite mocktail or cocktail! 🙂