Finding a new, at least for me, type of pasta, was a good enough reason to think about making pasta salad, which I haven’t made much during the extra hot days of summer.
This type of pasta, called “Mafalda” looks like a mini version of the larger lasagna pasta sheets, with their crinkly edges. I thought this unique shape could work well in a salad.
Now, all that was needed was to start adding ingredients to the bowl of cooked pasta. Adding fresh, lightly steamed broccoli to the bowl, was done mostly for its nutritional values, but at the same time, for its bright green color, and its crispy texture. This was achieved by lightly steaming not only the florets, but also by peeling the stem, cutting it to small pieces, and using them as well.
This was followed by adding a mix of Mediterranean ingredients – olive oil, oil cured black olives, sun dried tomatoes, capers and pickled Lupini beans. The last added another type of crunch to the salad, along with another layer of briny acidity, besides the capers. This was also enhanced by adding salty-acidic crumbled goat Feta cheese to the mix.
For a hint of sweetness, and another level of light acidity and pleasant aroma, I finished seasoning the salad with a bit of honey and white wine vinegar.
This tasty and healthy salad can be served as a main dish for lunch, or as part of a brunch buffet table. Try it and enjoy.
* Lupini beans are yellow legumes, which are high in protein. Preparing them is quite a lengthy process, as they are quite bitter and require repeated soaking and cooking. The jarred version I’ve used here is ready to use, with a nice slightly acidic/salty flavor. It can be found in the Italian ingredients section, or online.
* If not serving the salad soon after preparing, add the vinegar just before serving, as otherwise, it can alter the bright green color of the broccoli into an unappetizing khaki-yellowish color.
* If not serving soon after steaming the broccoli, plunge it into a bowl of ice water for a couple of minutes, to keep its bright green color. Drain well before adding to the salad.
Prep time: 15 minutes
2 cups Mafalda pasta
1 medium head of broccoli
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly cut
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs drained capers
About 10 oil cured black olives
About 20 lupini beans (see notes)
3.5 oz (100 grams) goat Feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp honey
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and place in a medium bowl.
- Cut the broccoli into small florets. Peel the stem and cut into small cubes. Sprinkle a bit of salt over, add a bit of water and steam for 3 minutes, in a pot (or in the microwave), just until it changed color to bright green, and still keeps its crispiness. Let cool a bit, and add to the bowl (see notes).
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, and the olive oil, and mix to combine.
- Pit and roughly cut the olives, and peel the lupini beans. Add both into the bowl, along with the capers, and mix again.
- Add the crumbled Feta cheese, honey and vinegar (see notes). Mix lightly, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature.