You will love the delicate flavour of this salmon courgettes pasta salad! you wouldn’t believe how easy and quick it is to prepare.
Few words about the general concept of pasta salad: in Italy we also call it ‘pasta fredda’ which means cold pasta and it’s basically a pasta dish that is meant to be eaten cold. Pasta salad is very common especially in summer; you don’t want to be eating a red hot dish when it’s 35 degrees outside :P.
I had pasta salad few times in England and I have to say that I won’t be trying it again. That’s because most people just get basic things wrong with this dish. Pasta salad is a very very simple dish and as with all the simple dishes there are just few little things you need to get just perfect but on the flip side if you get just one little thing wrong you are going to mess the whole thing up.
Let’s start from the beginning. The first step is to boil in a pot the water and add a pinch of salt. When the water is boiling you can put the pasta in.
First common English mistake: some people put the pasta in the boiling water and just leave it there… NOOOOOOO!!! Absolutely wrong! The pasta will stick to bottom of the pot and it will get all gooey. A very simple way to handle the pasta is to start stirring straight away using a wooden spoon and keep stirring every 20-30 seconds.
The second common english mistake is to overcook the pasta. NOOOOO! Overcooked pasta (expecially if you are going to make a pasta salad) is absolutely horrible. When you make pasta salad you are going to allow the pasta to cool down, after being cooked and before refrigerating. During this time the pasta is still red hot and is basically still cooking. What I do when making pasta salad, I read the cooking time on the pasta box and I always cook it 1 or 2 minutes less than it says. I can’t tell you exactly how long to cook the pasta for because it depends on the brand and the type. Try and taste some about 2 minutes before the box cooking time, if it’s a bit hard but yet edible it’s fine.
Third and biggest common english mistake: many people cook the pasta, drain it and put it in a bowl and leave it there as it is…. OH NOOOO! It could be a disaster at this point! After you drain the pasta you have to transfer it in a large deep bowl and IMMEDIATELY pour some olive oil on it and stir. This is the most important step because if you don’t do that the pasta is going to stick together and be horrible and soft.
let’s talk about this pasta! You are going to love the contrast of the minty flavour with the smoked salmon. I have tried this before in other recipes and it absolutely works. The courgettes go perfectly with any kind of fish such as salmon, prawn and scallops so it’s the perfect green healthy touch for any dish with these ingredients. This dish is ridicoulsly easy as well. All you have to do is to grate the courgettes and stir fry with a tablespoon of oil in a non stick pan. Then set aside and when everything is cold all you have to do is to mix all the ingredients with the cold pasta (that you have already cooked and mixed with a tablespoon of oil).
This dish is perfect if you want to cook in advance for dinner or if you want a ready lunch to take to work!
- 300g courgettes
- 5 leaves of mint
- 160g pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 50g smoked salmon
- 50g light ricotta cheese
- Grate the courgettes and stir fry with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper in a non stick pan.
- When the courgettes are soft enough (it will take only few minutes) add finely chopped mint, cook for a couple of minutes more, then set aside and allow to cool.
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, then drain, transfer into a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil , mix very well and leave to cool down.
- Cut the smoked salmon in very small pieces.
- When the pasta and the courgettes are completely cold, mix them together; then add the chopped smoked salmon and the ricotta, mix very well and leave in the fridge for at least one hour.