Food & Drink

Recipe: Summer vegetable pasta salad

pasta salad

Pasta often makes up the backbone of a meal, but it all too easily hogs the limelight from other ingredients. This dish reverses the effects and gives a little glory back to the other components. By breaking up sheets of lasagne, you retain the wonderful layered effect that its form gives, but one that unassumingly nestles itself into the vegetables around it.

My carnivorous brother was present when I made this, so I felt the need to include chicken. However, I think I prefer it without, as the delicious green vegetables carry more than enough flavour with the lemon, parmesan and parsley.

This also tastes amazing with courgette flowers, so if you can get hold of some stir them in right at the very end.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
12 lasagne sheets (I used lasagne verdi)
3 courgettes, sliced diagonally into large discs
3 chicken thighs (optional)
200g frozen broad beans
Handful of samphire
1 onion, chopped
Parmesan
Parsley
1 lemon
Olive oil
Pine nuts
Salt and pepper

Whack the chicken thighs in the oven at 180°C and cook for around half an hour. Leave to cool, before stripping the meat from the bone and putting to one side.

Fry the onions in a large pan. When softened, add the courgettes and continue to fry.

As the courgettes begin to cook, bring a large pan of water to the boil. When the water is bubbling energetically, pour in a glug of oil and some salt. Snap off pieces of the lasagne sheets (squares approximately 1 inch by 1 inch, but if the pieces aren’t identical this adds to the charm) and throw these directly into the water as you break them off. Keep stirring the water so that the pieces don’t stick together.

Add the cooked chicken to the courgettes. Season with salt and pepper a handful of chopped parsley.

Just before the pasta is cooked, throw the broad beans and samphire into the courgettes, along with the zest of the lemon.

When the pasta is ready, use a slotted spoon to transport the lasagne pieces to the pan of vegetables. Don’t worry if a little water comes along too; this will loosen everything a bit, which we want.

Squeeze in the juice of the lemon, along with a very generous dribble of olive oil, some more seasoning and a good grating of parmesan. Turn off the heat and give everything a toss.

Plate up, garnishing with some pine nuts and parsley. As a final flourish, use a vegetable peeler to peel curls of parmesan on top.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jess_Hardiman

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