Simple Summer Pasta Salad (hot or cold)

I’m fairly certain I happened upon the perfect summer meal.  It’s definitely possible that I’ll be the only one enamored of it, but… it’s worth sharing anyway!

I’ve never been one of those cooks who has mastered the magazine-esque approach to making a meal early in the week and then turning it into multiple meals with new identities throughout the coming days. So, imagine my surprise when I inadvertently did just that!

For dinner last night, we had a simple meal:

it was hot, and occasionally on the dog days of summer it’s nice to eat something that is fairly low prep and that can be served up refreshingly chilled. We had:

Citrus Green Beans

  • Washed & drained green beans, boiled for 5 – 8 minutes then chilled
  • Pour three parts lemon juice to one part olive oil on green beans and mix
  • Add pine nuts or sliced almonds just before serving

Boiled Shrimp

  • Purchased cooked & deveined, served thawed but still chilled

Garlic & Parmesan Rotini

  • Cook whole wheat rotini to al dente, drain
  • Dress with Newman’s Own Parmesan & Garlic dressing
  • Add oregano and fresh ground sea salt and pepper

Broiled Bell Peppers

  • Wash, core & cut red, orange and yellow bell peppers into quarters
  • Place in baking dish skin-side up and pour olive oil lightly on top
  • Broil for 5 – 20 minutes (depending on your oven and taste) – I prefer starting to blacken
  • Serve over rotini and top with fresh grated parmigianno

The whole meal took barely twenty minutes to prepare, and it was really good. However, the real magic came next: all the leftovers looked so good to me that I thought I’d combine them into a pasta salad. So, the rotini went into a large bowl with all the leftover dressing. I cut the leftover bell peppers and green beans into smaller pieces and added them along with their leftover goodies (parmesan, pine nuts, lemon juice). We’d had the perfect portion of shrimp, so none was left.

I popped all of this into the fridge and served it up both as a cold pasta salad the next day and as a heated pasta dish with additional fresh grated parmigianno melted on top. I can’t even tell you how great these flavors were: the garlic, parmesan and lemon juice flavors mixed together were perfect! I’m going to make the whole dish over just to eat the pasta salad all week for lunch. Yum!

Here’s to good meals that turn into even better leftovers!

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