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Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad


For the Salad:

1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

4-6 oz bacon, roughly chopped

2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced    

1 lb pasta, cooked and chilled

1 lb cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves

8-10 red radishes, thinly sliced

1 cup English peas, cooked and chilled (or high-quality frozen peas)

1 small head fennel, core removed and sliced thin

2 tablespoons crumbled Cotijo or Queso Fresco cheese

1 tablespoon each chopped dill, parsley, basil, tarragon and cilantro (save stems for the vinaigrette)

Zest of 2 lemons


For the Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons room temperature honey

1 teaspoon Kosher salt  

1 teaspoon grain mustard

1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes  

1 cup neutral oil like avocado, grape seed, or canola

2 teaspoons finely chopped fine herb stems



To make the vinaigrette: Combine vinegar, honey, salt, mustard, and chili flakes in a bowl or blender and whisk or blend on low to combine. While whisking, or with the blender on low, slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl or blender to emulsify the dressing. When all of the oil is incorporated, whisk in the fine herb stems and taste for seasoning. Set this aside.

To make the salad: Sauté the chopped bacon in the olive oil until it is caramelized. After the bacon is cooked, sauté the shallots in the rendered fat until they are translucent. Set bacon and shallots aside and allow to cool slightly in the olive oil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chilled pasta with the bacon/shallot mixture (with the olive oil/rendered fat for flavor) with the tomatoes, radish, peas and fennel. Then add the vinaigrette, a few tablespoons at a time until it is dressed to your liking (about a 1/4 cup should do).

After your salad is dressed, add the fine herbs and crumbled cheese, then mix gently once more to combine. Garnish with any remaining herbs, cheese, and the lemon zest.