Saturday, 19 March 2011

Pasta Salad Primavera

The theme for this month's Forever Nigella challenge hosted by Sarah at Maison Cupcake is 'Ciao Italia'. The selection of Italian inspired recipes from Nigella cookbooks are pretty much endless. When thinking of Italian food, my immediate thought is pasta. Of course, Italian food is more than just pasta, but I simply LOVE pasta. I could happily eat pasta every single day.

Then again, there are still so many pasta recipes to choose from. But since I am currently giving up meat for lent, I need to look for vegetarian options and this pasta salad primavera from Nigella's Feast which she described as 'eating proof that you can't have too much of a good thing' is just perfect.

I altered some of the vegetables from the original recipe to suit what I already have at home. I omitted the broad beans because I couldn't be bothered to remove the casings, pure laziness I'm gonna be honest; and I added more of the peas... frozen of course, don't be silly. I also replaced the mangetout with its fatter sibling, the sugar snap peas and because I couldn't find chives today, I used spring onions.

The beauty of this dish, next to its healthy-deliciousness is it can be made well in advance and leave it in the fridge in a Tupperware or something similar for easy pickings for a good few days though I doubt this will last that long. I'm gonna be out most of the afternoon and when I get home later I knew I have something tasty to eat...

Enjoy your weekend!

Pasta Salad Primavera
Recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson
Serves 8

500 g Orzo pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
500 g asparagus
300 g petit pois
180 g sugar snap peas
250 g fine beans
1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 spring onions, finely sliced

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, and after draining the cooked orzo, rinse under cold water and leave to drain again. Tip the drained pasta to a large mixing bowl and stir through the olive oil to prevent it from clumping together.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil, and add some salt. Meanwhile, snap the woody ends off the asparagus and then cut each stalk into a 2.5 cm pieces. Cook each vegetable in the boiling water until almost cooked through but with a bite (al dente). You have to taste as you go to get the timing right. Like Nigella, I also find it easier to cook each one in turn, placing a sieve, and refreshing under a cold tap.

Tip the cooked, refreshed and drained vegetables into the pasta and dress with the garlic oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest, and the finely sliced spring onions. Mix together and taste to check the seasoning, then decant into a bowl.


  1. Stunning healthy recipe. Love it's combo of flavours. Well done on the meat free Lent. You have such integrity!

  2. I love this, Michael! You could really put any sort of veggies in there...very versatile! And Italian food is in my blood, you can never go wrong there!

  3. Green. Lent? Very 'St. Patrick's', too!

  4. hi Michael

    as always how could you wrong with Nigella, and with spring on the way your pasta primavera is the perfect dish to celebrate the upcoming season! I too prefer the sugar snap peas!

  5. Simple and delicious! I would add some carrots in them too.

  6. Yummmyyy Italian and pasta, this is really simple and tasty perfect for a quick lunch!

  7. Simple, and delicious orzo pasta salad. Looks like Nigella just wanted to stay with the "greens" which is fine with me, because I love all the greens, in the pasta salad, and eat it as a cold salad, on even more "green" addition, on a bed of greens!
    Have a beautiful Sunday, Michael:D

  8. How cool is Orzo? Love it! :)Looks like a simple, quick and perfect Spring feed. Will find a way to weave this into our menus. :)

  9. Just beautiful...I love your blog, so I give u a lovely blog award in my last blog post.

  10. i'm with you, I could eat pasta every day with no remorse!!! this dish looks so inviting to me, I'm craving a lot of greens so this really would hit the spot for me! I'm also admiring that guinness cake!!!! you continue to inspire!!

  11. Cheers to pasta! Any day, anytime. Your pasta salad is a reflection of warmer months ahead. Asparagus and peas are ideal for this dish.

    This is a fresh, healthy and flavorful meal.


  12. Michael, this salad looks perfect for spring! I love the vibrant green, and orzo is a pasta shape I rarely get to use, but I love it in this salad :)

  13. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,


  14. Hi Michael, this is perfect for spring, I love tender green vegetables all put together in a dish like this - I even have some orzo downstairs so I might make it myself soon. Thanks for taking part in Forever Nigella 3, Ciao!

  15. I've cooked so many dishes from Feast but have overlookeed this one. It's sounds just perfect for eating in the hot weather that's just arriving here in the Middle East.