Monday, July 20, 2009

Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

Steve's daughters Catherine and Julia were visiting last week and I made a pasta salad for a family gathering. One of my vegetarian cookbooks I went to for advice said simply, "Do not make pasta salad. Pasta does not have the right consistency for a salad, and mixing it with mayonnaise is not the answer." It hadn't seemed like a snobby cookbook until right then. I went to my second source, "" and found a simple Asian-inspired pasta salad. I had all the ingredients and a good idea how to adapt it to make it much better. When it was done, Catherine said I had "hit this one right out of the park." And further, that it "is blogworthy." I needed a subject for a blog entry, so here's the recipe, with significant enough variations to call my own. The proportions are a little rough, as I more than doubled the recipe I found online, and am cutting it back here. So use your own judgment as to the proportions...

Susan's Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

10 oz. short pasta (gemelli, rotini, bowties, etc)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar: half rice wine and half white wine
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
2 cups snow peas, savoy cabbage or spinach (chopped)
3/4 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 thinly diced roasted red pepper would also help add color

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a jar with a lid, combine the soy sauce, vinegars, oil, sugar, sesame seeds, salt and pepper; shake well. Drain pasta and rinse in cold water to stop cooking; place in bowl. Add chicken and half of the dressing; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving, add the snow peas or cabbage (steamed to wilted stage or fresh and crunchy), green onions, parsley, cashews and remaining dressing. Toss to coat.

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