Just when I thought I couldn't love a salad more, I went and tried this one! After posting what's on my coffee table the earlier this week, my friend Erica tipped me off on this superb recipe from the cookbook I'm slightly obsessed with-- Appetite for Reduction. All she had to say was that it tastes like pizza and instantly, a grocery shopping list was made. Thanks Erica!!
There's a lot to love about this pasta salad. I love how the dressing coats the pasta...getting into every little nook and cranny of the fusilli I used. Look at that picture. Do you see what I'm talking about?? There's something absolutely magical about the combo of walnuts & fennel. It actually mimics the taste of sausage! I could probably eat the entire batch of the dressing-plain. It's THAT good. When added to this pasta salad it's killer! The tang of red onions...the sweetness of roasted peppers...that peppery bite of arugula...the creaminess of the cannellini beans...and the crunch of toasted walnuts...oh dear. I think I've fallen in love with yet ANOTHER salad. I'm totally looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow!
And we're off!
Let's make the dressing first! Gather your ingredients.
Put the sun-dried tomatoes in some hot water to rehydrate!
Toast walnuts and add them to the food processor with the fennel seeds.
CHOP! Take a taste. It kinda tastes like sausage, huh? Weird!
Add in the rest of the ingredients...hold off on the marjoram at this point. BLEND!
Now welcome the marjoram. Pulse! Now take a taste. Good, huh?
And now it's time to assemble!
Toss the dressing in with the pasta & all the other fun stuff.
Add in the beans & arugula. MIX.
Plate some up!
And chow down! You're really going to love it.
Sun-Dried Tomato Arugula Pasta Salad
(recipe slightly adapted from Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Moskowitz)
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (bought in dried form, not in oil)
- 3 tablespoons walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- a few pinches fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
Place sun-dried tomatoes in bowl of hot water for 15 minutes to rehydrate. When they are soft, drain and set aside.
Toast the walnuts in a heavy bottomed pan for about 7 minutes over medium heat. Transfer walnuts into a food processor with the fennel seeds until finely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the marjoram and puree until relatively smooth. Add the marjoram and pulse a few times to combine. Keep the dressing in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
For the pasta salad:
- 8 oz. fusilli pasta
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 recipe sun-dried tomato walnut dressing
Cook the pasta al dente in salted water according the package directions. Drain pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water. Place in the fridge to cool completely. Once pasta has cooled, toss all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Keep chilled until ready to eat.