After a somewhat decadent night out on Friday and in anticipation of more decadence on Sunday, I was keen to prepare something comparitively light and nourishing for dinner on Saturday. Unusually, I consulted our modest cookbook collection rather than my online bookmarks and picked out this warm pasta salad from vegie food. It takes advantage of the season's asparagus, features sprinklings of feta and pine nuts, and with pasta and sweet potato involved it's definitely a full meal on its own.
Though it's colourful and contains some lovely ingredients, this salad didn't quite work for us. The proportions seemed out of whack, with too much pasta and not nearly enough spinach or pine nuts. The feta we bought was tough and the flavours never really mingled, even as we ate it gradually over a number of days. I'm sure there's a great salad waiting to burst out from this ingredient list, but I think it'll need new proportions and a different dressing to really shine.
Warm pasta & sweet potato salad
750g sweet potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
325g marinated feta cheese in oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into short lengths
100g baby spinach leaves
2 tomatoes, chopped
40g pine nuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Peel the sweet potato and chop it into large cubes; plonk it into a large baking dish, drizzle it with the olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, and stir it all through. Bake the sweet potato until tender, about 20 minutes.
While the sweet potato is baking, boil a large saucepan of water and cook the pasta, draining it when it's done.
Drain the oil from the feta and whisk the oil with the balsamic vinegar as a dressing - we added some extra olive oil here to make up for our lack of marinating oil.
Steam the asparagus until tender, but still keeping its colour.
Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl - the sweet potato, pasta, asparagus, feta, spinach, tomatoes, pine nuts and finally the dressing.