I know what you're thinking - that's not a photo of pasta salad. You're right, because when I started cooking, I wasn't aiming for pasta salad. If you can't have some flexibility in the kitchen, you're in trouble.
While going through January's recipes over at Kitchen PLAY sponsored by Lindsay Olives, I wanted to cook just about all of them. I'm a big olive fan, so they all looked good to me. And since I'm also a fan of anything wrapped in puff pastry, I opted to try the olive and goat cheese turnovers from Chez Us. Don't her photos of the turnovers look amazing?!
And yes, I did make the turnovers. I loved them - pillowy bites of salty olives and tangy goat cheese. I subbed in some red onion for the shallots, because that's what I had. I loved these and the sophistication they would bring to any dinner party. In fact, I might have to bring them to the next family gathering, as I know my family loves cheese wrapped in dough as much as I do.
But I had some filling leftover (I only used one box of puff pastry instead of two), and I wasn't going to let it go to waste. I was going to just spread it on crackers, but I didn't have any. But there was pasta! I boiled up a little bit of whole wheat pasta and tossed it with the cheese mixture and a little bit of the pasta water.
Oh my, what a wonderful pasta sauce this makes! I ate some warm and enjoyed it, but when I ate some cooled, I enjoyed it even more. This would be a perfect picnic dish (I mean, our weather has been so bizarrely warm that us New Englanders could even have a picnic right now), or even great for lunch at work.
Olive and Goat Cheese Pasta Salad inspired by Chez Us
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, minced
1 can Lindsay green olives, drained and minced
1 can Lindsay black olives, drained and minced
zest of 1 lemon
handful of fresh oregano, minced
10 ounces goat cheese
1 box small pasta (like rotini)
In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add olives and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add lemon zest, oregano, and black pepper to taste. Let cool slightly, then stir in goat cheese until well combined.
Cook pasta according to box. Mix the pasta and the cheese mixture until well combined. Add a little of the pasta water if the cheese is too clumpy. Refrigerate before serving.