Pasta is one of the easiest, filling and varied meal options. It makes a great hearty meal in Winter when teamed with some Bolognese or ragu and in Summer can be a light, flavoursome salad with the right ingredients and dressing. This dish has become a new Summer staple in our house.
This delicious pasta salad is based on The Noshery’s Grilled Peach and Bacon Pasta salad with Honey Herb Vinaigrette, but obviously modified, as I didn’t have all the ingredients and, I like to freestyle in the kitchen putting my own spin on things. When it comes to a pasta salad, I like to add plenty of other ingredients to balance out the pasta to veggie/salad ratio, generally aiming for about 1 cup cooked pasta per portion.
Stone fruit are plentiful at the moment and are becoming cheaper by the week. They make a fabulous addition to a pasta salad or an ordinary salad, especially once grilled and lifted with a caramelized flavour, and when paired with smoked bacon….wow!
Whenever I am buying pasta at the supermarket, I get the kids involved in choosing which shape they want as usually it results in them eating the pasta as they are excited about what they chose. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that choosing process involves me offering them 2-3 (which I would like) to choose from, so we don’t come home with something like risoni to go in a pasta dish such as this one. This meal has been a hit with the kids the few times I have made it, regardless of pasta.
- 275g large shell pasta
- 2-3 peaches/nectarines, halved and seed removed
- 4 rashers smoked bacon, fat trimmed and chopped
- 5 broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
- 2 radishes, cut into thick match sticks
- 1 small zucchini, cut into thick match sticks
- 3 handfuls of rocket leaves
- 2 tbs parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tbs pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbs white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tsp dijonnaise
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients into a jar and shake well to combine, at least 30-60 seconds. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and once boiling, add the pasta. After about 5 minutes, add the broccoli. Cook until pasta is al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside, allowing to cool.
- Heat a griddle pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and cook the peaches/nectarines cut side down for ~3 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- Using the same pan as the peaches, cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until bacon and zucchini have both coloured, about 5 more minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly.
- Toast the pine nuts by heating a small pan over medium heat, add pine nuts and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Slice the peaches/nectarines into ~1cm thick slices.
- In a large bowl, place the pasta, broccoli, bacon, zucchini, stone fruit, sliced radish and rocket. Give the dressing another quick shake and pour over salad. Toss well to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pine nuts and toss lightly once more.
- Serve between 4 bowls.