a dilemma

Spring has started creeping into the District, and not a moment too soon. The seasons really are perfectly timed - as soon as one starts to wear out its welcome, another one comes right in to take its place.

This meant a lot of things for my weekend, things like taking a walk outside not to get someplace but to enjoy the weather, or having the windows wide open all afternoon, or wanting lighter fare than what I've been eating all winter. That last bit was especially true on Sunday, when all I really wanted was pasta salad from Cafe Tu-Oh-Tu. I did not, however, feel particularly moved to go all the way to Georgetown to get it. And my attempt to recreate it almost a year ago (whoa!) still haunts my memory, a little bit.


So I cruised around the internet, looking at pasta salad recipes with the window wide open. I had two very different pasta salads in mind: the aforementioned Tu-Oh-Tu one, and another that my mother used to make, from a box. Say what you will about boxed food, but this was pretty delicious. And by pretty delicious, I mean I would eat just about all of it, by myself.

The internet, however, did not provide me with what I needed. Or not exactly, anyway. I decided then to just go into the kitchen and make my own (after a short phone call to my mother to see if she had any suggestions). I went with apprehension, remembering my colossal failure in trying to recreate the Tu-Oh-Tu dressing. Putting that aside, I leapt right into making a basic vinaigrette, on my own, with little help. It could have gone horribly wrong.

Dear reader, it did not.

Basic Pasta Salad

I've mentioned before - probably many times at this point - that I'm a big fan of simple meals, ones that don't need a whole lot of prep work. This is one of those. It might be my new favorite light spring dish. You could jazz it up in any way imaginable. Also, this makes one serving. That's it. I imagine it would be super easy to multiply, but I usually eat by myself, so there you have it.

1 serving of pasta (I prefer fusili, though I also like penne)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
pinch ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes

Prepare and drain the pasta.

While the pasta is draining, pour the vinegar into a small bowl. Add the spices and stir around a little. Whisk in the olive oil, rapidly, until the oil and vinegar merge together.

Move the pasta back into the pot you cooked it in. Whisk the vinaigrette a little more and pour over the pasta, making sure to stir it in. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, or until chilled. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy!


  1. This pasta salad looks delicious, but it is clearly missing black olives, tiny slices of sun-dried tomato marinated in olive oil, spinach leaves, and grape tomatoes. Mmm, maybe some artichoke hearts. Wow, I really want to make that now.

  2. Yeah, I am going to have to stock up on some other things to throw into this! But even just plain with the vinaigrette it is delicious!