Total price: NY $15.66
Price per serving: NY $1.30
This pasta salad is amazing. Before you snort skeptically and hit your back button in disdain, I should emphasize that I fully realize that a pasta salad is not one of those dishes you would normally think capable of being “amazing”. Double chocolate, seafood trio, quattro formaggio, these are the kinds of words that spring to mind when one thinks of recipes that “amaze”. But, hand to heart, this one does too. I once brought this to a rooftop barbecue and nearly had to arm wrestle some late-lingering guests to get my Tupperware back. I wasn’t allowed to depart until after we’d scrounged up the last clean plate in the apartment to dump the remaining pasta salad out onto. As I exited in a snit, tightly clutching my storage container to my chest, I could hear them behind me, digging in with drunken gusto. Yes, to a pasta salad.*
This recipe makes enough to feed a small army. Its best slightly cool, not cold. You’ll want to make this not too much in advance: its best freshly made and cooled in the fridge for a bit or eaten within a few hours of preparation.
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts (NY $4.42) **
- 1 lemon (NY $0..25)
- 1 pound penne (NY $0.66)***
- 1 red pepper (NY $1.75)
- 1 green pepper (NY $0.87)
- 3 cups celery (NY $1.39 for a bunch)
- 1 red onion (NY $0.54)
- 1 ¼ cups Kalamata Olives (NY $4.49)
- ¼ cup fresh dill (NY $1.29 for one bunch)
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar (staple)
- 2 tbsps mayonnaise (staple)
- 2 tbsps Dijon mustard (staple)
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil (staple)
- Salt (staple)
- Pepper (staple)
Cook the penne in boiling, salted water until al dente. Strain into a colander and refresh the pasta under cold water.
Meanwhile, heat a grill pan on a burner, and brush the chicken with approx. 1 tbsp olive oil. Grill the chicken breasts for about 8 minutes, then use tongs to flip over. Continue grilling on the reverse side for about another 6-8 minutes, until cooked through but still moist. Remove from heat and transfer to a shallow dish. Pour the lemon juice over, and allow the chicken to cool.
While the chicken and pasta are cooking, chop the peppers , onion, olives and dill, thinly slice the celery, and combine in a large**** bowl. Toss together with the cooked pasta. Remove the chicken from the dish, making sure to reserve the juices. Slice the chicken thinly, and add the slices to the penne mixture.
In a small bowl, combine the reserved chicken and lemon juices with the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, a few grinds of black pepper and a few dashes salt, to taste. Whisk well, them stream in the olive oil as you continue whisking. Pour the dressing over the penne mixture and toss well. (Go ahead and lean over the bowl and smell the fragrant dill, the bright lemon . . . . ) Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Adapted from Gourmet, June 1990
*Hmm, OK, now I’m a little worried I’m ratcheting your expectations up a wee bit *too* high. OK, maybe this can’t compete with, say, a seared filet mignon with caramelized shallots and red wine reduction, BUT it is the best darn pasta salad I’ve ever had. And this is the internet. I can’t just stand next to you modestly and say with eyes downcast “Oh, this is just a little something I threw together”, while slipping a little on to your plate. If you’re ever to taste this, I have to be convincing enough to get you off the couch, out to the store, shelling out some cash on the groceries, then heading back home for some time in the kitchen . . . So! Most amazing pasta salad ever! Now, grab your keys, switch off the Desperate Housewives of Wherever, and off you go!
** If you feel like spending a bit more, this is excellent with more chicken.
*** Hooray for sales on dried pasta!
****Really, you’re probably going to want to drag out your most humongous bowl for this. I at first got out my only moderately monstrous dish, and found myself looking down into it apprehensively half way through: “Uh-oh, I think I’m going to need a bigger bowl . . . “ And I did.
Amount Per Serving
|Calories 308.7||Vitamin A 12.9 %||Iron 8.5 %|
|Total Fat 16.0 g||Vitamin B-12 0.5 %||Magnesium 2.3 %|
|Cholesterol 4.1 mg||Vitamin B-6 5.8 %||Manganese 3.9 %|
|Sodium 583.4 mg||Vitamin C 49.7 %||Niacin 4.3 %|
|Potassium 157.9 mg||Vitamin D 0.0 %||Phosphorus 2.7 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 35.7 g||Vitamin E 5.4 %||Riboflavin 1.6 %|
|Fiber 2.3 g||Calcium 1.7 %||Selenium 2.1 %|
|Sugars 1.3 g||Copper 1.7 %||Thiamin 2.3 %|
|Protein 6.6 g||Folate 3.7 %||Zinc 0.9 %|