Spring Pasta Salad With Asparagus, Tomatoes and Peas

Primo Taglio Parmigiano reggiano7

Spring Pasta Salad

Fresh asparagus, peas and cherry tomatoes are combined in this delicious spring pasta salad recipe topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Kalamata olives and a lemon dijon dressing. 

Take advantage of sales on asparagus, tomatoes and peas at Safeway to make this delicious seasonal pasta salad for a meal this week. 

 

New Primo Taglio Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

If you are a cheese lover and frequently consume Italian food, you likely know about Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and what makes it special.

Safeway now offers Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese imported from Italy under their Primo Taglio brand.  Primo Taglio is known for premium quality meats and cheeses, crafted with the finest ingredients.  We partnered with Safeway to create a recipe to celebrate the addition of this new cheese to the Safeway deli.

I chose a fresh spring pasta salad to celebrate the freshness of spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, and tomatoes.

The saltiness and distinct flavor profile of the Parmigiano Reggiano grated on top of the pasta ties all the delicious flavors together to make this dish amazing!

What’s Special About Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese?

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese is imported from the Emilia Romagna region in northern Italy and made with fresh cows milk.  It has a creamy, nutty, salty flavor that is unique and not at all like parmesan cheese you may have tried before.  True Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese is stamped with a Protected Designation of Origin seal so you know that the cheese was produced in the correct regions under the precise methods.

This aromatic cheese has a hard, smooth exterior and once cut reveals the cheese’s perfect crystalline texture and a tangy, salty flavor.   Aged a minimum of 24 months, this product is brushed completely and regularly inspected to comply with the strict standards of the Consortium Parmigiano Reggiano.

This extravagant blend of old world cheese making and unrivaled quality fuse to create a delicate and savory rich full flavor that has made Parmigiano Reggiano world-renowned and an immediate favorite to those who try it.

In addition to being eaten alone, shredded or grated Parmigiano Reggiano transforms any pasta, soup or salad into an exquisite gourmet experience.

Parmigiano Reggiano has been made for centuries in one area of Northern Italy, the rolling hills and green pastures comprising Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua. Only there are the conditions ideal, with a combination of rich countryside and cool climate to produce the only cheese in the world that can be called Parmigiano Reggiano.

Typical of this region steeped in food culture and tradition, the cheese is made in small batches using artisan methods, often passed down through families from generation to generation

Serving Parmigiano Reggiano

Everyone loves the tangy flavor of true Parmigiano Reggiano. Not only can you serve it on its own, but you can also pair it with a long list of other flavors that highlight its subtle bite and sweetness.  I love thin shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano on a bed of spicy arugula dressed with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Try it also with honey-drizzled pears, stirred into a creamy risotto or over eggs. And, of course, the flavor combination of Parmigiano Reggiano and tomato sauce over pasta is one of the most satisfying combinations in history.   Be sure to save the rind to add it to your next pasta sauce or even when you are making a soup.  You’ll get an amazing salty flavor from the rind.

Storing Parmigiano Reggiano

Wedges: Buy pieces that will last you just a week or two. Store in the cheese or veggie drawer of your refrigerator (40°F).  This cheese should not be frozen as freezing destroys its subtle flavor nuances. Exposure to air causes the cheese to dry out and lose flavor, so keep it tightly wrapped in parchment paper or aluminum foil.

You can find the new Primo Taglio Parmigiano Reggiano in Safeway’s deli in stores nationwide priced at $9.20 for a quarter-pound wedge.

 

Compare this to a whole wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano from Williams Sonoma for $2,499.95 and you know you are getting a good value for this authentic Italian cheese.

 

To make the Spring Pasta Salad, I used Italian Cavatapi pasta that I boiled until al dente.

I chopped fresh asparagus and added it to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of boiling.  I sliced red grape tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced shallots and halved Kalamata olives to pair with the asparagus in the pasta.  I also threw in some frozen peas for extra color and flavor  (they are also good for you).

I made a simple lemon and olive oil dressing to top the pasta.

I combined olive oil, the zest, and juice of a lemon with Dijon mustard and shaved garlic in a small bowl and whisked together until it emulsified and the dressing was smooth.

Top with freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and you have an amazing company-ready pasta salad ready in under 25 minutes.

 

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Spring Pasta Salad

Take advantage of spring produce like asparagus and fresh tomatoes to make a light, yet flavorful spring pasta salad topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories:

Ingredients

For the pasta:

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces cavatappi pasta
  • 4 ounces asparagus ends trimmed, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 10- ounce box frozen peas thawed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 3 tablespoons Kalamata olives
  • Primo Taglio Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese grated or shaved

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Instructions

  • Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs, adding the asparagus pieces 2 minutes before the pasta is done. Drain the pasta and asparagus; rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Toss the pasta and asparagus with the peas, olives, tomatoes, shallot and dill.
  • Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine olive oil, mustard, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Whisk until the dressing is emulsified and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta salad, tossing to coat. Grate or slice Primo Taglio Parmigiano Reggiano over pasta salad and have extra on hand for individual servings.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Safeway, and as always opinions, recipes and images are my own.  We appreciate you supporting the brands that make this site possible.

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