April 6, 2013

Bowties Are Cool Blueberry Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

It's Saturday! You know what that means, kids: It's Doctor Who time!


In case you missed it last week, I'm doing a new weekly series in honor of Doctor Who's 50th anniversary this year.

(Btdubs: Feel free to share your thoughts on last week's episode, The Bells of St. John. It wasn't my favorite episode, but I now totally get why Oswin was such a genius, and why the daleks turned her into one of them (although, I still don't get why the daleks would make other people dalek when they view everything else as inferior. They're not cybermen for crying out loud. They don't do upgrades) Annnnnnd discuss)

This week we're still focusing on the newest Doctor, because if he's only taught us one thing, it's that bowties are cool.
On the interwebs, I read that Matt Smith's costume was originally supposed to be completely different and kind of pirate-y. I also read that Steven Moffat (executive producer and head writer) was completely against the idea of a bowtie, but that Matt wasn't really the Doctor until he donned the tweedy jacket and the bowtie and then started to pretend that his pen was a sonic screwdriver.

Side note: How adorable is Matt Smith? I want to shrink him and keep him in my pocket. Is that weird? I think that might be weird.
Given the inherent coolness of the bowtie, there was no doubt that I would make something with bowtie pasta for this series. My original thought was to do that trick where you dye the pasta by adding food coloring to the boiling water. Just a few drops it said. That's all you'll need, it said. It's so easy, it said.

It lied. Like a rug.

Instead of lovely TARDIS blue bowtie pasta, I had sad little grayish bowtie pasta. Those bowties were NOT cool.

Disheartened, I went to Home Goods for some retail therapy, where among other things, I found elderberry white balsamic vinegar. I was intrigued (and my brother immediately started quoting Monty Python), and grabbed it. Then I was watching Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, and they made a pie with blueberries, goat cheese, and fresh basil. That flavor combination sounded fabulous, but we all know that I have some issues with pie.

Then suddenly, like an invasion of Sontarans, it struck: Blueberries. Blue, like the TARDIS is blue. With a fruity balsamic vinaigrette. In a pasta salad. A bowtie pasta salad. Which would be cool. Literally. Because it's served chilled.


My mommy thinks I'm funny.
Time itself must have bent over backwards to get me to make this salad, because it is officially my favorite salad in the history of ever. I'm not usually not a fan of the sweet/savory combo, and I never like fruit in my salad, but for some reason, this hits all the right notes. The firm pasta, the lightly sweet homemade vinaigrette, the bitterness of the spinach, the tang of the goat cheese, the slight tart of the berries, with the underlying note of the fresh basil. (The tomatoes are really just there for color. I picked them out afterwards. They didn't really go. Hashtag foodbloggerproblems)

Best. Salad. EVER. And also one of the prettiest. :3
Whovian or not, there are three facts that must be universally acknowledged as true:

  1. Bowties are cool.
  2. This salad is awesome.
  3. And this is me almost every time I go to cook something:

"What are you making?" "I don't know. It's a thing in progress. Respect the thing!"

Blueberry Goat Cheese Pasta Salad {Printable Version}
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 box (16 oz.) bowtie pasta
½ cup fruity white balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 pint fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh basil, julienned
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
12 oz. fresh baby spinach (or your favorite lettuce)
Optional—cherry tomatoes

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and rinse well with cold water. While the pasta is cooking, mix together the vinaigrette: in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the balsamic, oil, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano until smooth. Refrigerate until use.

Mix the cooked pasta with the blueberries, basil, half of the goat cheese, and about half of the vinaigrette (and cherry tomatoes, if using). To serve, line the bottom of a serving bowl or platter with the spinach, and top with the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining goat cheese on top, and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.

Serve cool.

Tip: Salt the boiling water for more flavorful pasta. I usually cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than the shortest cook time on the box because I prefer it more firm.

Recipe by Kim
It kind of looks like it's crying, doesn't it?
OMG, don't blink, it's the weeping pasta salad!!!!!