A treat at the end of the week is always time with good company, but beyond that, a perfect glass of wine certainly helps. If at some point during the weekend you find yourself deciding to stay in, I have a pasta dish that will pair just as nicely with a casual panini as it will with a ramped up veal parmigiana. Don't worry, I won't leave you wandering around looking for the perfect bottle of wine. I have a few suggestions that will make the perfect complement.
With the help of Food Network, my ever faithful and reliable companion, this particular recipe has been a mainstay in my repertoire of pasta salads. It can be a perfect fit for lunch as well as a side dish for dinner, or simply be the meal itself - depending upon your appetite.
Fusilli with Roasted Red Peppers, Feta, and Herb Dressing
*2 Tbs lemon juice
*1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
*3/4 tsp kosher salt
*1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
*1/3 cup mixed fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme) - finely chopped
*1 lb fusilli or other spiral pasta
*1/2 red onion, sliced
*2 1/2 ounces sliced black olives (whole olives are a fantastic alternative)
*1 (12 oz) jar roasted sliced red peppers, drained (tomatoes can substitute)
*4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1. For dressing, place all ingredients in a jar. Close lid tightly and shake until blended.
2. In a large pot of lightly salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, soak red onion (chopped) in ice water to mellow its flavor.
3. Drain cooked pasta and place in a large bowl. Drain onions and pat dry, add to pasta.
4. Add dressing, olives, peppers and feta to warm pasta and toss. Serve at room temperature.
Things to keep in mind:
*Fresh herbs make a huge difference in this recipe.
*Quality feta will also increase the flavor of the salad.
*Feel free to refrigerate the pasta and then reheat - it is just as delicious cold as warm.
Pairing a wine with this dish has me typically leaning toward a subtle viognier in the warm summer months. Recently, I have paired it with Abeja Winery's Viognier which has hints of nectarine and white peach, or in the cooler months, a Walla Walla Vintner's sangiovese would work wonderfully with its slight flavor of cherry and other red berry flavor.
Whatever your weekend plans may be, I hope you have a delicious time and savor every moment. Bon Appetite!