An unfashionable pasta salad

A couple of days of bad weather and I’ve started to panic that summer is already over – and that I haven’t made the most of it. Ridiculous really, because we should have another month or so of sunshine and barbecues and – with any luck – a proper holiday by the sea to come yet.

In the meantime, I’ve been digging out some old summer favourites. Seasonal recipes can be like clothes – what suited you one season might look terribly outdated the next – but this is still worth another whirl. It might be horribly out of date by the time the northern hemisphere summer rolls around, but the rest of you should give it a bash at your next barbie (mate)…

Nectarine Pasta Salad

Pasta salads might be a bit uncool and I know the ingredients for this sound unlikely, but I urge you to put your prejudices aside. It’s fantastic barbecue fodder as you can make it several hours beforehand and it goes really well with barbecued chicken pieces or pork kebabs. For best results, make sure the nectarines are perfectly ripe and don’t overcook the pasta. Serves six.

500 good quality penne or fusilli, cooked in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente (follow packet directions if you’re unsure) and drained

3 carrots, peeled and cut into julienne strips

1 kg yellow-flesh nectarines, cut into wedges

4 spring onions, sliced

Handful of fresh mint leaves, shredded (strip the leaves from the stems, roll them up into a parcel and snip them into ribbons with a pair of scissors – you’ll feel just like a proper cook off the telly)


4Tbsp olive oil

4Tbsp soy sauce

4Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan

4Tbsp finely chopped root ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Combine the cooked pasta, carrots, nectarines and spring onions. Shake the dressing ingredients together in a screw top jar and pour over the pasta mixture. Stir well, then tip into a serving bowl. This can be made a couple of hours in advance and stored in the fridge, but make sure it has at least 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.



  1. January 24, 2011 / 6:08 pm

    Lucy, I've never tried it, but I think nectarines would make a lovely addition to a pasta salad to go with barbecued chicken or pork. I refuse to buy out-of-season imports (and it's winter here), so I'll keep this in mind for July when I'm likely to get my hands on some really good organic nectarines.

  2. January 24, 2011 / 8:59 pm

    Nectarines in pasta salad? that's the surprise ingredient. I'm sure it's lovely though. I'll give this a try when it's summer in the North East of England (that couple of days in July or August or never)…

  3. January 24, 2011 / 11:08 pm

    ahhh the old fruit in a salad trick, i made the classic watermelon, fetta, mint salad this weekend for a bbq, its a crowd pleaser even with the kids which is always a bonus …

  4. January 25, 2011 / 7:31 am

    Wow, now that is a blast from the past!! My Mum used to make a pasta salad similar to this, although nothing as nice as nectarines went in it, she used grapefruits and oranges and grapes. Must remember this for when barbie season rolls around here (even if I do freeze my bits off cooking on the barbie in winter I still need to wait for the fruit to be in season lol)

  5. January 25, 2011 / 10:51 am

    Fashion, smashion Lucy, if it tastes good then please pass me a large dish of it.

  6. January 25, 2011 / 4:04 pm

    This is a great unique recipe that I have to try! Thanks!

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