Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pasta Salad with Fresh Corn, Black Beans, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The flavors of lime and cumin in this refreshing pasta salad give it a Mexican flair. Fresh corn cut right off the cob adds a touch of summer to your salad. Make an extra batch of dressing and use it to marinate or drizzle on cooked grilled chicken or shrimp for a delicious hearty meal.
Serves 8-10

1 lb fresh whole grain pasta
2 T olive oil
3 ears of fresh sweet corn, shucked and steamed
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
6 scallions, sliced thinly
16 oz cooked black beans
10 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
8 oz black olives
8 oz marinated artichoke hearts
12 sprigs of cilantro
1 large avocado
1 T fresh lime juice
1/2 c. black bean and corn salsa (I love Stonewall Kitchen's version)

1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1⁄2 c vinegar
1 c oil
1 t salt
1 t pepper
3 limes, zested and juiced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1⁄2 t cayenne
1 T Cholula pepper sauce or Tabasco sauce--optional

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, and drizzle with 2 T olive oil. Toss to coat, and chill for 30 minutes.
Shuck the corn, and steam or boil until tender (about 6 minutes). Hold the corn vertically on a cutting board and slice off the kernels close to the cob; be careful not to cut into the cob. After the kernels are removed, hold the knife blade perpendicular to the cob and scrape off any little bits of corn left clinging to the cob.
Wash, remove the seeds and coarsely chop the pepper. Wash, trim and thinly slice the scallions. Drain the beans, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and artichoke hearts. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts coarsely. Add all the drained ingredients and the salsa to the pasta.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, corn, pepper, scallions, beans, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and artichoke hearts. Toss well and chill while you assemble the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss well.
Peel, pit, and slice the avocado. Pour 1 T lime juice over the avocado and toss gently to coat. Serve your salad garnished with sprigs of cilantro and a slice or two of avocado.

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