Tuesday, July 24, 2007

They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT) #4

This month's They Go Really Well Together is being hosted by Kookjegek (link: http://www.kookjegek.nl/archives/151) and the two ingredients chosen were Mint and Mustard. I know... that's a toughy.

I was going to go with fresh mint, but couldn't find any! So, I relied on dried mint, and paired that with some really tasty sweet hot mustard.

I thought about this one for a really long time, and had absolutely no idea what I'd go with. Finally, it dawned on me: Pasta Salad! I wanted to really showcase both flavors, without them seeming like just a side addition. Here's the recipe:

Mint & Mustard Pasta Salad
- 1 Package rotini pasta (I used rainbow colored, for effect)
-1/3 cup oil
-1/3 cup vinegar
-2 tsp garlic salt
-2 tsp Italian seasoning
-1 1/2 tsp mint
-2 tbsp sweet hot mustard
-2/3 cup black olives
-1/2 green bell pepper
-1/2 red bell pepper
-1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
-salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Boil pasta in a large pot until tender, drain and put pasta in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, mint and mustard. Pour mixture onto pasta, add the olives and the bell peppers, and lightly toss. Top with shredded Asiago cheese.

Reactions: I made this salad for a BBQ for my older brother's birthday, and it went over really well. The mustard was definitely apparent, but wasn't too overpowering, and the mint added a refreshing flavor that wasn't really detectable at first, but once I told people it was mint they were tasting, they really seemed to like it. The Asiago cheese added a nice saltiness and really enhanced the flavor. I only got one suggestion that perhaps there should be some more cheese in the actual salad than just on top, but I figured that was mainly because that person really liked cheese. I didn't put that much cheese in it because I know not everyone likes a lot of cheese. Maybe next time, I'll have a small bowl of cheese on the side for those that want more. I do know that I will definitely be making this one again. It was so simple and quick, and I didn't have to worry about it like I would have had I made a salad with dairy ingredients in it like potato salad has. All in all, it was a hit!


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