Sunday, June 17, 2012

Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Pasta Salad

Summer Side Salads Series (3 of 3)

Put a little heat in your seat!

Mexico's small but mighty dynamo, the smoke-dried jalapeno pepper known as chipotle, is heating up the Scoville! OK, a bit of a stretch perhaps as it only reaches the mid mark of the scale with a a rating between 10,000-50,000 Scoville units (

However, If you enjoy TEX-MEX cuisine then this is the pepper for you. Use it as a marinade (adobo) for grilled pork. Sprinkle a little on sweet buttered corn on the cob. Chipotle mayo perhaps? How about a salad with a balanced blend of south-of the-border favorites? Today's featured recipe of Chipotle Black Bean Pasta Salad provides everything for a fiesta en la boca (a party in your mouth). And, you only need 6 ingredients. Let's get this party started!


1-18 oz. bag frozen sweet corn
1 1/2 pints grape tomatoes
1 lb. black bean chipotle fettuccine
12oz. Marzetti Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
1 bunch fresh cilantro
3 stalks green onions.


Thaw frozen corn and drain. Set aside. Quarter grape tomatoes. Remove white onion ends and rough chop green leaves. Place ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, place fettuccine into a large pot of boiling water and cook well but not limp. Drain and place into bowl with other ingredients. Pour vinaigrette over salad and garnish with rough chopped cilantro. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate overnight. Salt to taste prior to serving.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato Orzo - Two Ways

Making my weekly trek to Root's Market (, I caught up with fellow chef and salad peddler Lynn Manbeck of Pasta Plus. I also stopped to visit my new foodie friend and entrepreneur Mary Armstrong of Prima Donna's Pasta with one thing on my mind - summer side salads. Between Lynn's prepared pasta dishes and Mary's 30 plus gourmet pasta selections, the summer salad season is filled with endless "pastabililties"!

I first introduced Prima Donna's Pasta two weeks ago with a twist on chocolate marshmallow peanut sundaes using dark chocolate fettuccine. Deciding not to post a recipe last week, I continue today with my series on summer side salads featuring Prima Donna's unique delectable gourmet pasta varieties. Today's featured flavorful pasta - sweet potato orzo.

Also smitten with Prima Donna's line of gourmet blends, Lynn decided to create a salad featuring sweet potato orzo as well. It seems that great minds actually do think alike! Using Thanksgiving as our focal point we came up the following two recipes: (1) Bourbon Bacon Sweet Potato Orzo and (2) Sweet Potato Orzo with Cranraisins and Pecans. Ideal for holiday or summertime gatherings, each could be served heated but are at their best when served chilled.

If we can celebrate Christmas in July, why not Thanksgiving in June?

 Bourbon Bacon Sweet Potato Orzo
(A twist on Louisiana's Thanksgiving Day sweet potato casserole)

Ingredients: 1 lb. sweet potato orzo, 16 oz. can apricots, 1 lb. Wright brand Bourbon BBQ bacon, 1/2 stick butter, 1/4 C. brown sugar, 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg, pinch of ground cloves, 1 C. chopped pecans, Kosher salt, pepper.

Directions: (1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place orzo into pot and reduce heat. Simmer orzo until al dente, cooked but not hard, and remove from heat. Rinse with cool water, drain and set aside. (2) Drain apricots and rough chop. Place into large mixing bowl with orzo. (3) Place bacon onto sheet pan and place into a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Remove and set aside. Remove excess grease by gently blotting bacon with paper towels. DO NOT OVER BAKE. (4) Melt butter, add remainder of ingredients and pour into mixing bowl with orzo and apricots. (5) Crumble bacon into mixture and gently combine all ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Orzo with Craisins and Pecans
(Recipe by Lynn Manbeck)
Ingredients: Sweet potato orzo, carrots, craisins, pecans, green onion, orange juice, vinaigrette.

Directions:  Lynn does not have an actual recipe. Like most great chefs she tastes as she prepares the dish. She confirmed the ingredients, however. For additional questions or comments you can contact her at 717-449-0063 or visit Lynn at Root's Market on any Tuesday.

* Next week's featured pasta - Chipotle Blackbean Fettucine.