For my father-in-law’s birthday my husband and I hosted a small dinner party. On the menu was spinach and goat cheese tartlets as an appetizer, duck quesadillas with rasberry-blueberry chipotle sauce as the entree’ and per his request, hot chocolate for dessert. While trying to decide what to serve as a side to the quesadillas, my mind immediately went to a spanish style rice. Blah. Done, Done, Done. I went online looking and found this recipe for pasta salad on the Novice Chef’s blog. It seems she found it on several different blogs. I don’t know who invented it, but it seemed the perfect side dish to my quesadillas! I only made very minor changes, as I will note.
Mexican Pasta Salad
1 lb. wagon wheel pasta, cooked al dente’ and rinsed with cold water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1- 10 ounce bag frozen corn
2 roma tomatoes
8 ounces Cabot hot habenero cheese, shredded
1.5 cups salsa
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of two limes
1 tbsp cumin
1.5 tsp chili powder
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground salt and pepper
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced
In a large bowl, gently combine the frozen corn, black beans, salsa, tomatoes and cheese. Gently fold in the cooked pasta.
In a second bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Whisk until well blended.
Pour the liquid mixture over the pasta mixture and mix well. Add cilantro, taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper, if needed. Just before serving, add diced avocado. Serve cold.
Mexican Pasta Salad (without the avocado – forgot to add them first!)
The Verdict: I was a bit leery because I am NOT a fan of cilantro. But my husband and in-laws all love it so I was nice and added it in. It was a wonderful, spicy side dish. Yes, spicy. I did not add any additional salt or pepper, but that cheese made it HOT!! Whew. I was a little worried, but the coolness of the avocado balanced it perfectly. And the wagon wheel pasta was a fun change from the ordinary! I can’t wait to eat leftovers tomorrow for lunch!