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June 6th, 2005

Spring fever? Thinking about the first camping of the season? Time to change gears again! How about some good camp food. What are you hungry for? Send your favorite recipes to us!

Bowtie Pasta Salad
by Steven H. McGarthwaite
(From Parnelli's Recipe Box)

This is a Greek style pasta salad that was the family recipe, a soldier submitted for the "New Mess Hall (Dining Facility) Recipe Box"! It is amazing simple, and I have never had any of the salad leftovers remaining the end of the meal. I served this salad at the 2002 FAOL Idaho Fish-In for the Group Dinner, again there no leftovers at the end of the dinner.

The dressing is a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette, and does not overpower the salad, allowing the dinner to taste sweet flavor of the fresh vegetables and fruits. All vegetables and fruits are room temperature when preparing, you can refrigerate salad after preparation, leave salad dressing out at room temperature for flavors to mature (about 3 hours).

    Salad Ingredients:

    6-to-8 servings

    12 ounce box of "Bowtie" Pasta.

    1 Large Orange or Yellow Bell Pepper, for color contrast with the Roma Tomatoes, in the salad.

    1 Large Onion (I prefer Vandalia or a Walla Walla when available, otherwise a White or Bermuda Onion, taste onion before determining amount to use.

    4 - to - 6 Roma Tomatoes.

    1 - to - 2 Cup of Olives (for this salad I use the Deli Olives, which are marinated in oil with spices, you are allowed to sample before buying).

    1 Cucumber

    1/2 Cup of Fresh Oregano (chopped), (if Fresh Oregano is unavailable, add 2 Teaspoons of Dried Oregano to the Salad Dressing instead).

    1 Cup of Crumbed Feta Cheese, (I prefer the Feta with Black Peppercorns).

    Method for Salad Preparation:

    Fill large pot full of water, bring water to boil, before adding pasta, until fully cooked.

    Cool Pasta, in strainer, under cold water (some ice cubes help to cool pasta).

    Thoroughly drain pasta, place on clean towel to absorb remaining excess moisture. Toss Pasta into large salad bowl.

    Cut top and bottom off of Bell Pepper, slice side of Bell Pepper using large knife. Lay the Bell Pepper on a flat cutting board (skin side down), with knife blade laying flat on top side of Bell Pepper, slice off ribs (remove). Then slice strips of Bell Pepper, Toss Bell Peppers into large salad bowl (tops and bottoms reserve for egg omelet fixings).

    Cut top and bottom off of Onion, cut Onion in half along core, cut pie shape slice for crescent shape onion pieces. Toss Onion into salad bowl.

    Cut top and bottom off of Roma Tomatoes, 1/4 inch thick slices. Toss Roma Tomatoes into large salad bowl.

    Drain Olives, (split olives if they have been pitted). Toss Olives into large salad bowl.

    Peel Cucumber, cut off ends, split down axis of Cucumber. Remove seeds from core of Cucumber (seeds are bitter, and helps to keep excess water from diluting finished salad) 1/4 inch slices. Toss Cucumber into salad bowl.

    Remove stems from Fresh Oregano, and course chop. Toss Chopped Oregano into salad bowl.

    Feta Cheese, crumble and toss into salad bowl (I prefer buying the Feta in solid form and crumbling it myself, save lot of money not buying the Pre-Crumbled Feta).

    Slice Optional: Thin Sliced Italian Salami, (again, I buy this at the Deli Counter, and have them slice it for me, I quarter cut the Italian Salami for the Salad.

    Place Covered Salad Bowl in Refrigerator, to allow Salad to cool until time to serve.

    Salad Dressing Ingredients:

    1 Lemon (room temperature).
    1/4 Cup Olive Oil, Extra Virgin.
    3 Tablespoons Water.
    3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar.
    3 Tablespoons Minced Garlic (more if you are daring).
    Note: 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano, if Fresh Oregano unavailable for the "Salad Ingredients."

    Directions for Salad Dressing Preparation:

    Roll Lemon on a flat surface, using flat palms to help juice extraction.

    Grate Zest off of surface of Lemon, reserve. Cut Lemon in half, squeeze juice into small bowl, remove seeds (bitter) by straining.

    In Salad Dressing Bowl add all the ingredients.

    Stir mixture and leave at room temperature for 3 hours.

    Tossing the Salad:

    Make space on side of salad bowl to pour half of Salad Dressing into bottom of salad bowl.

    Hand toss Salad and Salad Dressing.

    Again make space on side of Salad Bowl to pour half of Salad Dressing into bottom of salad bowl.

    Hand toss Salad and Salad Dressing (you never pour salad dressing on top of the salad fixings).


Note: It is well worth the extra money, to buy the freshest vegetables and fruits for this salad. I highly recommend going with "Deli Olives " (ask to sample olives before that are marinated in olive oil and seasonings, they beat the jar and canned olives for flavor. As I said earlier, this is one dish where there is never any leftovers (encore presentations) at the end of the dinner. The Vinaigrette complements and never overpower, the wonderful flavors of the vegetables and fruits. Total cost for ingredients $15 - to - $25. ~Parnelli

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