This yummy pasta will disappear quickly from the serving bowl.
You can substitute any sort of smoked cheese: mozzarella works wonderfully. Gruyere was all I could find today, so I went with it.
I used "mini" penne when I made it this time, and the boys loved it.
The roasted red bell pepper adds pretty color and a nice sweet flavor to complement the smokey cheese.
For a quick how-to on roasting peppers, click here.
Here's the printable recipe.
Smoked Gruyere and Penne Salad with Parsley Parmesan Dressing
The Parsley Parmesan Dressing
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 chopped parsley (about one fresh bunch)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly grated pepper, to taste
1/2 pound penne pasta
1 red bell pepper, roasted and diced
2 cups packed baby spinach, washed and stemmed (optional)
1/2 pound smoked Gruyere cheese (or mozzarella), diced
To prepare the dressing:
Combine Parmesan cheese, parsley, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. (A blender works well, too.) Process until smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
To prepare the salad:
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until it is al dente (i.e. no longer hard, but also not mushy). Drain the pasta into a colander, run cold water over it or submerge it in ice water until chilled through, and drain well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, spinach (if using), roasted red peppers, and smoked Gruyere.
Note: You can make the salad up to 2 days in advance. Just add the spinach and dressing before serving.
Adapted from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook