Pasta salads must be the ugly stepsister of salads. Pale (often overcooked) pasta, drowned in even paler mayonnaise, blanketing every other flavour. The idea with this Salsa Verde Pasta Salad was to make it as summery and fresh as possible. I also wanted to keep it totally green and added the peas and broccoli, not just for added texture and flavour but to amp the green colour of the salad.
Salsa Verde – it means green sauce – is a classic Italian sauce. Many countries have their own type of green sauce. The French version of the sauce is called Sauce Verte, the Spanish also call it Salsa Verde and the Mexicans use tomatillos and chillies in their version of Salsa Verde. The Argentinians have their famous green sauce, namely chimichurri, which is amazing slathered on a just grilled steak.
Many variations of the sauce abound but the main ingredient in all the recipes is parsley. Usually chopped by hand, these days many recipes state the use of a food processor. I kept the sauce rustic and chopped it by hand, as I wanted to see visible pieces of the ingredients clinging to the pasta. I used farfalloni (butterflies) pasta to make it pretty and to have maximum surface for the sauce to cling to.
The sauce is quintessentially summer and packs a flavour punch as a sauce or even marinade for grilled meats, fish and poultry. It can also be used as a fantastic salad dressing. Keep the sauce in the fridge for up to a week or so – scooping out as needed for a quick salad dressing with some extra olive oil to thin it down if needed.
Serve the Salsa Verde Pasta Salad with some grilled fish or chicken for a light lunch or as a salad with a barbecue.
- 20g parsley
- 20g basil
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 6 anchovy fillets
- 1 clove garlic
- juice of 1 lemon
- 120ml extra virgin olive oil
- 300g farfalloni pasta, (uncooked weight) cooked al dente and drained
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas or petit pois (defrosted under running water if frozen)
- 100g tenderstem broccoli. the florets cut off. (keep the stems for stir fry )
- Chop the parsley and basil leaves fine (a mezzaluna works great) and place in a large bowl.
- Chop the capers and anchovy fillets fine and add to the herbs
- Chop the clove of garlic fine and mash with the blade of the knife and add to the herbs
- Add the lemon juice and olive oil to the other ingredients and mix very well until a sauce has formed.
- Add the peas, broccoli florets and pasta and mix with the sauce. Check seasoning and add another tablespoon of olive oil and dash of lemon juice if the salad needs more dressing.
- Let stand for an hour and give one mix before serving.