[Because I'm nothing if not bad with timing, we had this salad last week. After the first heat wave. Before the current heat wave. (Which, luckily, isn't as bad as the first one, if only because it's not as oppressive.) I wrote this after I'd made it and then had internet troubles and forgot to come back and actually post it when they were resolved.]
Of course, by the time I get around to cooking sweltering heat-appropriate dishes, the weather's gone back to +17°. (Note: THIS IS NOT A COMPLAINT. I like seventeen-degree weather. It'll pretty much have to be minus seventeen* for me to start bitching about the cold.) I just wish I'd had this salad ready earlier this week when the thought of keeping the stove on long enough to cook pasta was enough to make me want to burst out crying. (I believe we've established that I'm a wuss when it comes to heat, yes?)
This is perhaps not the fastest hearty salad you'll ever make - unless you take to a mandolin or similar, the chopping will take a while, and it is really so much better when you really get the zucchini into fine slices, at least to my mind - but when you have it, should you follow the amounts given below, you'll have a huge salad, enough to feed six people at least, and it will stay fine in the fridge for several days. I've usually left the pine nuts to be sprinkled on each serving, so I'm not sure if they'll go soggy in the fridge, and sometimes I've perked it up with more fresh basil and some arugula, or even cherry tomatoes.
I wish I could give credit to someone for the recipe (the balsamic white vinegar is a stroke of genius, for one thing), but it's a copy-pasted document on my computer from a time way before knowing the source of something because I'd be presenting it to the public became an issue.
*all degrees in Celsius. Obviously.
Pasta Salad with Zucchini, Red Onion & Sun-Dried Tomato
½ l (2 cups) fairly sturdy pasta
3 baby zucchini, about 200g each
3 medium red onions
100 g (or so, translates to roughly half a cup chopped) sun-dried tomatoes in oil
200 ml cream (I used light cooking cream)
2-3 tbsp balsamic white vinegar
salt & pepper
a lot of fresh basil
toasted pine nuts
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water. When it's al dente, drain and run under cold tap water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
Chop the sun-dried tomatoes finely. Reserve some of the oil.
Slice the zucchini and onion finely; cut the zucchini rounds into strips.
In a very large saucepan, heat about a tablespoon of the oil from the tomatoes and soften the onions in it. Add the zucchini and stir to blend, then add the cream and let come to the boil (if you prefer your zucchini pieces a bit thicker than mine, wait a bit before adding the cream to cook them properly) and take off the heat. Stir in the tomatoes and pasta, season with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
Let cool to room temperature, then stir in a big bunch of chopped basil. Let stand in the fridge for a few hours and check to see if it needs more seasoning before serving. Sprinkle on the toasted pine nuts.