power goddess pasta salad

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There’s something you need to know before you sit me down with anyone you carry a sensitive relationship with.  Your competitor/colleague, boss, lover to impress, ex-lover to instill remorse… people who may be concerned about you befriending a crazy bitch (raising my hand), parents, or worse, social bridges.  Because you can be positively certain that I can and WILL almost ALWAYS say the wrongest thing on the wrongest subject before I even get to my appetizer… digging cheerfully into the bread-basket before my antenna picks up the dense air molecule… (…did I say something?).  You should also know that Jason waited the entire three years to unfold me in front of his company event and it’s safe to say that he had seen better days.

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Just to be clear I responsibly laid out the full disclaimer to this friend who, nonetheless, fearlessly invited us to join dinner with his allegedly temperamental dad… and his RELATIVES… AND his dad’s and relative’s SOCIALLY IMPORTANT FRIENDS… wow… all the usual suspects.  I gathered that he either significantly underestimated my destructiveness or was in fact scheming to cut me out forever from his circle because I was sure that I’d TOTALLY and single-handedly crush and burn this bridge like Godzilla on steroid, swallow the ashes then giant-burp it out onto Jason’s sad sad helpless face…  I don’t wanna.  Things just happen.  But that day, instead of finishing the dinner covered with hashtags in dismay, I realized I was in the company with someone who doesn’t belong to any of my social categories… I guess I could say I found myself at the table with someone large than life.  What’s that?  It means someone who granted me an invitation to her home even though I managed to say all the usual-wrong things.

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She has her own wiki-page.  She’s on Forbes.com.  She’s my one-degree-away from Quincy Jones and shaking hands with Clinton.  And after a couple of my stern and excessively enforced opinion (as how I deliver ALL my opinions…) about “There’s no greater city than New York” and “I don’t have kids and I don’t want any” (…waiting for judgement), she said “YOU’RE MY GIRL!” (…really?) and then “You should come over to my dinner party tomorrow!” (nodding profusely).  Just like that, the next day I gained a full room of new acquaintances and a request for recipes she needs for a TV show.   What do you know.  This is one of the four recipes I developed for her, all of which “has to be SO EASY that even I can do!” as she puts it.  I decided that a beautifully green, blend-and-toss pasta salad and hand-torn Italian coppa with flavors as bold and vibrant as her personality, should be relatively executable for a power woman who runs a mega-empire.  See, sometimes being yourself does yield rewards (Jason is peeing his pants).

Oh and as of my friend’s “temperamental” dad… even though I may have accidentally tried to discuss “medical marijuana” with his son, I saved it by telling him that he looked like Woody Allen which apparently rubbed his soft spot.  I rock.

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Servings: 4

This is a very refreshing and relatively healthy pasta salad that uses yogurt instead of mayonaise.  It is infinitely adaptable with other flavorful greens/herbs like spinach, blenched broccoli or ramp, dill, basil and etc.  Coppa can be substituted with prosciutto or even salami.  It gets even more luscious and rich with a warm hot spring egg.

Ingredients:

  • 170 g of arugula (after trimming)
  • 210 g of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) of freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 3 tbsp (35 g) of pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 300 g of dry pasta
  • Cured coppa or prosciutto
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Extra parmigiano cheese for shaving

Wash the arugula and trim off the tough roots if any.  You should have 170 g after trimming.  Toast the pine nuts on a pan over medium heat until lightly browned.

Add arugula, Greek yogurt, grated Parmigiano cheese, toasted pine nuts, garlic, salt, black pepper and nutmeg in a food processor.  Run until finely blended.  Bring a large pot of water to boil with a big pinch of salt.  Cook the pasta according to package instruction until al dente.  Drain the pasta REALLY well and rid of any excess water.  Toss with the arugula/yogurt pesto.

Use a peeler to shave Parmigiano cheese over the top, and torn off small pieces of coppa/prosciutto to scatter on top.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and crack fresh black peppers.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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10 Comments

  • your best friend says:

    Loving everything about this post, yes, even the actual “cooking” part of it! I think I might, just might, give it a try. Your staying-true-to- yourself has finally paid off! (Yes, I am your friend and I still can’t handle it sometimes!) AND please private msg about who that lady was.

  • jenessa says:

    this will be made in a very small kitchen in Chicago this weekend (mine)….thanks for the continued inspiration! you have a wonderful sense of design.

  • Caroline says:

    This looks amazingly delicious..can’t wait to make it! Your pictures are beautiful as usual..they make me want to lick the screen :)

  • Kelsey says:

    Could I use another nut/seed with equally delicious results? Toasted walnuts instead maybe? Pine Nuts are just always so expensive and I always have sunflower seeds, raw pepitas, walnuts, and almonds on hand…

    • Mandy L. says:

      kelsey, oh of course! Use pistacchios or cashews by all means. I would imagine that any other creamy nuts will work, too.

  • Victoria says:

    I was wondering if you can serve this hot too! Would it work for an entree instead of salad? Thanks!

    • Victoria, yeah I don’t see why not! You can tossed the hot pasta (drain the water VERY WELL FIRST) into the sauce and serve immediately. It would be more “warm” than hot I guess.

  • Tessa says:

    Just made this for a quick Friday dinner. Very tasty, and your photos are great! Thanks for the recipe.

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