Food & Drink Magazine

Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus

By Mariealicerayner @MarieRynr
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I just love fresh Spring asparagus.  I don't eat asparagus any other time of the year because there is just no comparison in flavor.   I believe in eating seasonally.   I don't think asparagus that has been shipped over from Peru in the depths of winter has any flavor at all really.  The taste never justifies it's high price in my opinion!
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That's why I get so excited when Spring rolls around!  Not only are the days getting longer and the temperatures warmer, but I know it won't be long before I am able to enjoy our delicious British asparagus at it's best!  British Asparagus season lasts officially from about the last week of April til the third week in June, so it's not long, but I try to get as much of it as I can during that time!
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I believe that British Asparagus has rightfully been described as the best in the world.  (Along with the carrots and strawberries in my opinion!)  Tender and sweet, there really is no comparison!  What you want to look for are firm green spears with tight green tips.  If they are limp and sad looking, don't buy them. They're old.  Blah!  And if they look in the least bit slimy, run, run as fast as you can away from them.  Bad, Bad.  (Don't laugh.  I have seen this!)
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As it's grown in sand, you will want to wash your asparagus well.  I just lay them in a dish of cold water and swish them about a bit.  The sand should fall right off.   The ends of larger ones can be a bit woody, so just snap them off. It's not hard to tell where that part is as the spear will naturally break at that point.   If you are at all afraid you can trim the bottoms a bit with a carrot peeler.  I also like trim off the points as they can have a tendency to be a bit bitter sometimes.
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This is a beautiful salad which I like to make each year which showcases this lovely vegetable beautifully.   I quite simply adore roasted asparagus, and it shines in this simple and quick salad, which also contains roasted cherry tomatoes, and al dente farfalle pasta.  I make a simple dressing for it by mixing some lemon mayonnaise, ranch dressing and a bit of  fresh basil pesto.  Tossed together and garnished with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese you would be hard pressed to find a tastier salad!  Hooray for Asparagus Season!
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*Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus*
Serves 4Printable RecipeA deliciously different Pasta Salad.  Easy to make, quick, colourful and very tasty!1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)1 pound of asparagus, washed and dried2 TBS olive oil2 TBS chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish if desiredflaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste2 TBS mayonnaise with lemon added2 TBS prepared ranch dressing1 tsp of basil pesto sauce1 pound of farfalle pasta (bow tie)freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste   photo SAM_4877_zpsc5aeb64d.jpgPreheat the oven to 220*C/425*F. gas mark 7.  Have ready a baking sheet which you have lined with foil and lightly sprayed with oil.Cut the asparagus into 2 inch lengths, put the into a bowl with the tomato halves.   Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the fresh basil.  Toss all together to coat.   Spread out into a single layer on the baking sheet, making sure the cut sides of the tomatoesare facing up.   Roast in the heated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tomatoes start to blister and the asparagus is tender crisp.  Set asideto cool.   photo SAM_4876_zps86635bc5.jpgPlace the pasta in a pot of lightly salted boiling water and cook to al dente, according to the package directions.  Drain well, rinse with cold waterto cool down, and rinse again. Whisk the mayonnaise, ranch dressing and pesto together in the bowl you tossed the vegetables with the oil in.   Add the pasta and toss to coat.   Fold in the asparagus and roasted tomatoes.  Sprinkle with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve garnished with fresh chopped basil if you wish

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