Monday, July 16, 2007

Babytime Pasta Salad, Hold the Mayo

Last weekend, the boyfriend and I had a Baby Party for some expecting friends of ours. Not to be confused with Baby Showers (the bane of my earthly existence), Baby Parties do not involve any of the following:
  • Baby Bingo
  • Three hours of gift opening
  • Precious Moments figurines
  • Aunt Dorothy asking if you’re married yet
Instead, Baby Parties DO include:
  • Copious barbecue
  • Red wine
  • Good lighting and music
  • Menfolk
  • A vast array of delicious side dishes
The last part is what we’re dealing with here. Since there would be about 25 attendees, I needed to make an enormous side that would feed dozens, without using any mayonnaise (the other bane of my earthly existence). A recipe for Gazpacho Pasta Salad in Cooks Country fit the bill beautifully, and then some.

As opposed to the floppyrotini/limpbroccoli/Italiandressing pasta salads of yore, this repast benefits greatly from a buttload of fresh seasonal veggies, as well as a slightly spicy tomato-based sauce. It’s tasty, pretty, and makes a metric ton of food to boot.

To make it a tad more manageable/nutritional, I cut the cucumber into quarters and halved the olive oil from ¼ cup to 2 Tbsp., which didn’t make a noticeable difference in the taste. The recipe calls for ½ cup of black olives and ½ cup crumbled feta, which I left off, as well. I love both, but found the olives don’t add much, and my lactose-intolerant friends couldn’t hack the frommage. Feel free to add any element back (especially the cheese) if it’s to your liking.

Finally, I should mention that I got totally hosed on the price of the grape tomatoes. In retrospect, I could have bought two vine-ripened tomatoes for $1.50, chopped ‘em, and saved $2.50 overall. But alas, I’m a dummy, Pathmark pricing is the devil, and the twain shalt not co-exist in a peaceful world.

Anyway, behold:

Gazpacho Pasta Salad
15 servings – 1 massive cup each
Adapted from Cook's Country.

1 14-½ oz. can diced (or whole) tomatoes
3 medium garlic cloves
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
¼ cup packed fresh basil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt
1 pound rotini pasta
1 medium cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded and cut into ¼ inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 cups (or 1 pt.) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil

1) Combine diced tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a non-metal bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

2) Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. When finished, drain and rinse well with cold water.

3) Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add pasta and pureed dressing and toss well. Serve straight to the table or after a few hours in the fridge

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
147 calories, 2.4 g fat, $0.74

Calculations
1 14-½ oz. can diced tomatoes: 75 calories, 0 g fat, $1.19
3 medium garlic cloves: 15 calories, 0 g fat, $0.15
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes: negligible calories and fat., $0.20
¼ cup packed fresh basil: negligible calories and fat, $0.85 (packed = more $)
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar: negligible calories and fat, $0.10
Salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
1 pound rotini pasta: 1680 calories, 8 g fat, $0.60
1 medium cucumber: 20 calories, 0 g fat, $0.40
1 medium red bell pepper: 40 calories, 0 g fat, $0.88
1 medium yellow bell pepper: 40 calories, 0 g fat, $1.64
2 cups (or 1 pt.) cherry or grape tomatoes: 60 calories, 0 g fat, $3.99
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley: negligible calories and fat, $0.45
3 scallions: 15 calories, 0 g fat, $0.50
2 Tbsp olive oil: 240 calories, 28 g fat, $0.15
TOTAL: 2185 calories, 36 g fat, $11.11
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 147 calories, 2.4 g fat, $0.74

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1 comment:

Donna said...

OMG...just discovered this blog. Hate Mayo...can not even look at it. Can't wait to read more!!!