Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pasta Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnuts and Arugula

2 T. chopped walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 t. table salt
6 oz uncooked bow ties
2 C. arugula, baby leaves, stems removed
2 T. chives, fresh,minced
1 C. grape tomatoes, halved
1 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil,extra-virgin
1/4 t. table salt
1/4 t. black pepper
3 T. blue cheese, crumbled

Place walnuts in a small, heavy bottomed skillet. Toast nuts over medium-high heat until lightly browned, shaking skillet frequently, about 1 to 2 minutes; remove from skillet and set aside.

Bring 3 quarts of water and 1/2 t. of salt to a boil in a large pot. Stir in pasta and cook until tender, about 11 to 13 minutes; remove 1 T. of pasta cooking water and save for later. Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl; immediately add arugula and toss well. Cover bowl with a lid or tight fitting plastic wrap; set aside until arugula is limp, about 5 minutes. Stir in chives and tomatoes.

Stir together vinegar, oil, reserved 1 T. of pasta cooking water, remaining 1/4 t. of salt and pepper in a cup. Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss well; sprinkle with blue cheese.

*If you are using mature arugula leaves. Chop and add them to the pasta for 1 to 2 minutes at the end of cooking time to blanch them. Drain the pasta and arugula, and immediately move to the next step of mixing the salad ingredients together.

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