Autumn's Bounty Pasta Salad

By • December 4, 2012 • 0 Comments


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Author Notes: Who says pasta salad has to be a summertime dish? Okay, honesty time, when I think about pasta salad, I conjure up images of picnics and beautiful weather. But pasta is versatile! Salads are versatile! Why pigeonhole pasta salad?

I work at a great small company in St Paul; one of the ways they show appreciation for the employees is by having a potluck lunch in the middle of the day every few months. Two tricky factors: I am the only vegetarian employee, and the office's sole means of heating things is a microwave. Since I don't own a crock pot, this means bringing something that's still delicious served cold, and something substantial enough to be a main course (since my coworkers often bring meat dishes). After a few potlucks, I had burned through all my still-great-cold potluck standbys — a challenge I happily embraced. A number of dishes were born from these creative obstructions; this one is my favorite.
Spensei

Serves 6

For the salad

  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons high smoke-point oil for roasting (canola or safflower)
  • 1 pound Farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 2 comice or bosc pears
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 handful fresh sage leaves
  • 1 bunch baby spinach

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a small jar or bowl whisk all of the dressing ingredients together.
  3. Preheat your oven to 450°
  4. Peel and chop the squash. Toss with 2 Tbsp of the oil, spread it in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  5. Trim and halve the brussel sprouts. Toss with the remaining oil and spread on another cookie sheet.
  6. Roast the squash in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Halfway through, give them a stir and add the brussel sprouts to the oven.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, roasted vegetables, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. Dress the salad to your satisfaction — you may find you have more dressing than you need. (But it is also great on green salads)
  8. Chiffonade the sage leaves, and gently fold the sage and the spinach into the salad.

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