Spaghetti Salad with Vegetables and Crunchy Garlic
Last night summer got rolling around here with a great crowd of friends, a spaghetti salad feast and a bunch of smokin' musicians jamming late into the night.
Spaghetti Salad with Veggies and Crunchy Garlic
This serves 4 - 6 comfortably - eight with bread, sides etc. It's a great dish for a casual summer supper on the porch, movie night at home, or a rainy Sunday afternoon with a few friends, a jazz album or two, and the paper.
5 Tbsp crunchy garlic (see separate recipe below)
oil reserved from making crunchy garlic
1 lb spaghetti
assortment of raw vegetables such as tomatoes, celery, radishes, red onion, scallions, green beans, peas, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, etc., cut in bite-size pieces -- be sure that you include at least one with a definite crunch, like celery or radish.
minced herbs such as parsley, oregano or basil
2 oz Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
4 oz cooked ham cut in thin strips (option)
4 oz cold cooked peeled shrimp (option)
toasted pine nuts (option)
Blanch green beans, peas, broccoli, asparagus, or other vegetables
not normally eaten raw by plunging in boiling salted water for two
minutes, draining and immediately showering with cold water to stop the
cooking. Drain well.
Cook pasta al dente, drain and mix with the garlic oil reserved from the crunchy garlic and the herbs. Set out the vegetables in individual serving bowls and allow guests to build their own plates of pasta, vegetables and ham or shrimp if using. The cheese, a sprinkling of crunchy garlic and a grinding of black pepper top it off. Serve with a good crusty bread and a bottle of your favorite wine.
2 heads garlic
1/4 C olive oil, or as needed
Peel and chop the garlic. Sauté garlic slowly in the olive oil until just golden brown. Quickly remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel on plate. Reserve oil for use flavoring pasta or salad dressing.
When the garlic has cooled, transfer to a clean paper towel and cover with another. On a flat surface, use a rolling pin or large cylindrical jar to crush the crunchy nuggets to a powder.
Sprinkle over steamed vegetables or pasta for a special treat. Keeps for several days in the refrigerator. Makes approximately 5 tablespoons.
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