Would you like to buy an O?

We’re leaving for Big Sky, Montana today. We’re attending a wedding at the Rainbow Ranch. We’re excited for the wedding, but we’re driving. Not so excited for the driving.

Yesterday I put together some food for the car (and recipes for the weekend), using bits of this and that, all the things that had to be eaten before we leave. Pasta salad with chick peas and plenty of vegetables? Check. Soup? Check. Savory muffins that taste sort of like tamales? Check.

Tito’s getting pretty ornery about his participation in my project. I was all excited to find anelletti pasta at Trader Joe’s; wooowheeee a pasta shape I’ve never cooked before! They’re shaped like the letter O. What an awesome idea for pasta – if you make a salad where nothing’s much smaller than the center of the O, each piece makes a little pedestal for whatever you’re mixing in. Flavor in every bite. I started cooking, humming Sesame Street tunes.

(In case you missed that Sesame Street reference, here’s some education, brought to you by The Letter O.)

Then Tito crashed the dance by telling me anelletti are just Spaghetti-O’s. He looked down his nose at my O-shaped pasta salad.

But after he tasted it, he changed his tune a little. (I just wrote changed his tuna a little on my muffed up keyboard, oh what a fabulous new addition that will be to my cliche collection.)

“It looked good, but it didn’t look, like, Mmm Mmm Good, if you know what I mean.”

But he had three helpings. So there. It’s Mmm Mmm Good.

“I want you to call this ‘Adult Spaghetti-O’s,” he instructed, suddenly exercising ownership of the half pound or so remaining. “Or Goat Cheese With Spaghetti-O’s.” (There’s about 2 ounces of goat cheese for an entire pound of pasta, but that’s the flavor he picked up on.) “Or Goat Cheese with Stuff.”

I don’t care what it’s called. When we’re halfway between Spokane and Missoula, and the Wagon Wheel Cafe is already closed for the day, it will taste so, so good.

Road Trip Pasta orange

Road Trip Pasta Salad (PDF)
Recipe 257 of 365

Here’s a colorful pasta salad, coated with a silky, creamy goat cheese dressing. It has all the qualities that make it a good snack for the road – you get your carbs and protein, plus a good smattering of fresh veggies, and you can eat it right out of the container with a spoon. It’s the kind of deeply satisfying concoction that makes you scoop up another bite before you’ve finished the one you’re chewing.

TIME: 30 minutes
MAKES: 8 servings

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Scant 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound anelleti, orzo, or other small pasta
2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and chopped
Corn cut from 2 large cobs
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 (20-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (basil would work also)
1 pound (large or small) tomatoes, chopped

Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta.

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard and vinegar together until combined, and season with salt and pepper. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, and whisk until completely blended. Set aside.

Salt the boiling pasta water, add the pasta, and set a timer for the pasta’s recommended cooking time. Two minutes before the pasta should be done, add the zucchini and corn. When done, strain the pasta, zucchini, and corn together in one colander, and transfer to a very large bowl. Stir in the onion, chickpeas, and reserved vinaigrette. Add the goat cheese, and stir until the heat of the pasta has melted all of the goat cheese into a creamy dressing. Stir in the parsley and tomatoes, season to taste with additional salt and pepper, and serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate and eat cold in the car (but not while you’re driving).

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8 Comments

Filed under Pasta, recipe

8 responses to “Would you like to buy an O?

  1. I just had the O’s myself, with chopped fresh grape tomatoes and a handful of crumbled Pastures of Eden feta (also from Trader Joe’s) which softens into an instant creamy sauce not, I think, unlike your goat cheese.

  2. Jaimi

    any suggestions for a meat protein addition?

  3. Definitely little crispy bits of cooked pancetta or bacon.

  4. Jaimi

    yum. thanks! making this tonight.

  5. Anne

    I googled anelletti to see what I could do with the pasta I picked up at Trader Joe’s and your entry popped up…just had to let you know that my 15 yr old daughter, who has never eaten Spaghetti O’s in her life, said “oooh fun – Spaghetti O’s!” when she saw the package of anelletti on the counter waiting to be cooked! We ended up making a sausage, swiss chard, pasta, and bean soup with the anelletti…

  6. Wow, Anne, that sounds good!

  7. 04-22-08
    Hello: Thank you for your thoroughly unique & original recipe idea for this most one-of-a-kind pasta. I too, found it at T.J.’s, picked it up & wanted to do something unique w/it. Your recipe was most helpful, & it sounds healthy as well. I will be sure to try it.

  8. i cannot tell you just how much i love this pasta salad. thank you so much for getting me through my first trimester with this finicky baby. the firstborn was easy, but this one only lets me eat what my husband likes (no chocolate, no fruits, minimal vegetables, no “everything else i like”). this recipe is a lifesaver from boring meals.

    you’re rockin’ my casbah.

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