Beggar's Pasta Salad

Beggar’s Pasta Salad

Beggar's Pasta Salad

It’s amazing when a recipe inspires you to come up with another recipe…

It’s not that the inspiration recipe isn’t worthy in and of itself, but it helps to get the wheels turning in your head and it turns into something else!

In this case, the inspiration came from Dorie Greenspan’s website. Her recipe for Beggar’s Linguine sounded divine, but it also made me think that the flavour profile could be used for a pasta salad instead. The recipe explicitly warns to eat immediately, because it wouldn’t work cold… but I decided to try it out anyway.

I switched things up a little bit, but kept the spirit of the browning butter, sweet dried fruit and crunchy nuts. I changed which fruits, mostly because I’m not a fan of figs. In the end, I felt like my pasta salad was only a few steps away from being Morroccan – their use of dried fruits and aromatic spices makes their cuisine stand out.

To give it a bit of a salad freshness, I added some crisp green pepper and fresh chives. This offered a foil to the sweet, decadent pasta, creating a really interesting and different take on the pasta salad. One thing I wasn’t able to do, however, is come up with a unique name for the dish. In the end, I named it after its inspiration recipe. Enjoy!

Beggar's Pasta Salad

Beggar's Pasta Salad

Beggar’s Pasta Salad

Inspired by this dish for Beggar’s Linguine. I mostly took the combination of flavours for the sauce from this recipe – but my dish is served cold or room-temperature.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb small pasta, cooked (like orzo, farfalline)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 4 dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 roasted pepper, chopped (red and orange work best here)
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 medium sized orange
  • 1/2 tsp mace
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Minced chives and/or parsley leaves, for serving (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a deep sauté pan. Once the butter is melted, stir in the nuts, orange zest, chili flakes and dried fruit. Stir around and cook for a few minutes.
  2. Add the roasted pepper, mace, mustard, paprika and cayenne and cook for a few minutes more. The butter should be turning a nice caramel brown colour, but should not be allowed to burn.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the pasta to the pan, toss gently but thoroughly. Add about half of the orange juice and toss again. Add salt, to taste.
  4. Allow to cool in the fridge.
  5. Before serving, toss in the remaining orange juice, a splash of olive oil to add a bit of gloss, the chopped green pepper, freshly ground black pepper, and top with chopped chives or parsley.