Sunday dinners tend to be elaborate affairs — not necessarily fancy, but a bit more complicated and time-consuming than our typical weeknight fare. It’s the one day of the week that I typically have several uninterrupted hours of kitchen time and I like to take advantage of it. Saturdays, on the other hand? Saturdays are usually spent cleaning the house, running errands, grocery shopping, etc. By the time we get home I don’t feel like spending the rest of the evening in the kitchen, so Saturday dinners tend to look more like weeknight dinners. Last weekend was no exception. Sunday dinner was a huge pot of homemade tomato sauce and meatballs. Saturday was just a couple of thick cut pork chops dusted with a simple seasoning salt (kosher salt; black, white and red pepper; a bit of sugar) and thrown on the grill, plus an asian-inspired pasta salad. This salad caught my eye because of all the veggies. We don’t eat as many as we should and this was a quick and easy way to incorporate them into our Saturday dinner.
Spicy Asian-Style Pasta Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit
I’ve learned the hard way that any dish that calls for 1 pound of pasta is way too much food for two people (we get tired of the left-overs and end up throwing food away, which I hate to do), so this is a half-recipe. The original called for linguine and snow peas, but I substituted penne because I think it’s a bit easier to eat and snap peas because I just like them better. The original also called for basil, but I already had cilantro in the fridge and didn’t want to buy over-priced basil at the grocery store (I can’t wait for my herb garden to be up and running!). I was afraid the balsamic vinegar would overpower the dressing, but it meshed well with the other ingredients.
- 1/2 pound penne
- 2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain very well. Transfer to large bowl.
Whisk 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne pepper in small bowl to blend. Season with salt. Mix half of dressing into pasta.
Heat remaining oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, peas and onion and sauté until just beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add vegetables to pasta. Mix in peanuts, cilantro and remaining dressing to coat.