Food For the Field is a recurring feature on PastaRun Music. My work has me travelling away from home (and kitchen) during the week, and I am trying to save money and eat better by preparing meals at home that I can bring with me into the field. Staying in your standard hotel room, I don’t have access to a kitchen while I’m away, so it’s important that the meals I bring with me require very little preparation once I leave my home. They also have to hold up for 5 days without turning to mush. As I search for recipes online and from friends, I’ve set up 3 simple rules to help guide me on my quest to find quality food for the field. 

3 Simple Rules:

  • Easy to make and requiring little to no preparation after cooking
  • Travels well in a cooler or thermos into the field on hot summer days 
  • Healthful and nutritious for strenuous activity in the heat 

I’ve never understood the obsession with mayonnaise-based dishes being served at picnics in the heat of summer. I don’t want to eat lukewarm pasta or potato salad drowning in mayo as the sun beats down on me and my stomach. This is a recipe I first tried last summer as I was looking for a pasta salad recipe for a BBQ. It uses vinegar and oil as the base for the dressing, and tastes great even at room temperature. The peppers, pickled onions, and lemon zest add the perfect amount of zing and fresh flavors.

Let’s get into it…


Spanish Pasta Salad 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb small pasta such as elbow macaroni, fideua, or ditalini
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 6 oz Spanish chorizo (about 2 sausages), diced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced 
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, cover diced onion with red wine vinegar and let stand until lightly pickled, between 15 minutes and 1 hour.
  2.  

  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta as directed on packaging (likely 8-10 minutes). Drain and chill under cold water. Drain again, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Set noodles aside.
  4.  

  5. In a skillet, cook chorizo over medium-high heat until crisp. Stir in garlic during the last minute of cooking.
  6.  

  7. In a large serving bowl, mix the pasta with the chorizo (and rendered fat), garlic, olive oil, roasted red peppers, parsley, scallions, and lemon zest. Drain the vinegar from the onions and toss into the rest of the mix. 
  8.  

  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature right away, or refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Fewer steps equal fewer worries on meal-prep day. I recommend buying the chorizo uncooked if you are able to find it, the rendered fat from cooking it adds a lot of flavor to the dish and the ground sausage incorporates better into the entire salad. This time making it, I used pre-cooked which I diced and fried in the skillet to make it crispy before mixing in – still delicious. If you don’t have the rendered fat to mix in, or skip the chorizo entirely, use extra olive oil to dress the salad. This dish is an easy alternative to traditional pasta salads and is sure to win you a few fans at the next picnic you attend. 

 

Food for the Field: Episode 6 - Spanish Pasta Salad
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