I have to admit that I have not been cooking a lot since our arrival in Paris. There’s several reasons for this: 1) Kitchen is tiny. It’s functional but there isn’t space to store hardly anything (I’m currently using the microwave to store our bread and tomatoes. 2) We’re not here a lot. 3) Grocery shopping is tres cher! Meaning that eating out and cooking end up costing about the same. I’ve gotten a few tips on some cheaper markets and will check those out soon.
Anyway for our picnic last Friday night, I put together this pasta salad. I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients that normally go into a traditional pasta salad, so this one is lighter but still yummy.
Pasta Salad with Basil Infused Olive Oil
- Pasta, small to medium sized, cooked and drained (I used two boxes and it made a LOT)
- 1 large bunch of basil, finely chopped
- 1/2-3/4 cups olive oil
- 1 head broccoli, cut into little fleurettes, steamed until just tender but with some bite remaining
- 1-2 shallots finely chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, chopped
- 2 packages grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
- salami, it’s better to have salami that is a bit more “chunky” – thickly sliced and then cut into strips, amount depends on your personal taste
- juice and zest from 1 lemon
- salt to taste
To make the basil infused olive oil, add the chopped basil to the olive oil in a small sauce pan. The knives in this kitchen are beyond dull so my basil is not as finely chopped as it normally would be. Chop those leaves finely! It’s worth it in the end.
Heat the olive oil and basil over low heat until it just begins to lightly simmer. Lower the heat and allow to cook for about 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad. Once the oil has taken on the basil flavor, drain. Here’s my improvised strainer:
Glass cup, mesh sieve, and a coffee filter. It worked great!
Drain the pasta and prep all ingredients.
Once the pasta is cooked, strain and drizzle with infused olive oil. Mix in all the other ingredients, drizzle with lemon juice and zest, salt to taste. Enjoy. I don’t have a pictures of the final product but here’s the last picture I took in process:
And, just for fun, one of what the kitchen looked like while I was cooking. There was literally not one single inch of bare counter space – and I was stashing things on the shelves, stacking, putting things in the microwave, and dropping lots of stuff on the floor.
© 2009, Rebecca Manor