Tuesday, May 22, 2012
If you're anything like me, when it's hot outside the last thing I want is some heavy, hot dish that's going to weigh me down. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good burger, hot dog, kabob, and various other grilled dishes; but I also enjoy light and refreshing meals too. I think that pasta salads are one of my favorite things to make during the warmer months; they are so quick to put together, the house doesn't become a furnace while preparing it, they are perfect for the main course or a side dish, and the options of add-ins are endless.
12 Ounces small pasta
1/2 Cup milk
1/4 Cup mayonnaise
1/2 Cup sour cream
1 Tsp lemon juice
1 Cup grape tomatoes, quartered plus more for serving
2 Cups arugula
3 Scallions, greens and whites, chopped
1 Large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
12 Ounces bacon
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
2 1/2 Tbsp ranch dressing mix
1/3-1/2 Cup freshly grated parmegiano-reggiano
Cook pasta according to label instructions. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid and drain pasta. Return to pot and toss with 1/2 cup milk, set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place bacon in heated skillet and cook until crisp, transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat process with remaining bacon. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and discard the rest. Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup of bacon for serving.
Return the reserved bacon drippings to the pan and add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic and cooke until fragarent and warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine the tomato mixture, bacon and pasta to combine.
Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, ranch dressing mix and salt and pepper and mix to combine. Stir in chives until just combined. Combine the mayonnaise mixture and the pasta mixture and toss. Right before serving add the arugula and toss to combine, top with remaining bacon, whole grape tomatoes, and parmegiano-reggiano and serve.
*This dish can be prepared ahead of time. Refrain from adding the arugula, cheese and bacon until ready to serve. It can be served fresh with hot bacon, room temperature or cold.
Recipe source: adapted from Food Network Magazine