Confession time: until last month, I’d never tried ranch dressing.
I’d heard about it (mainly from American films), and I know a lot of my friends love it, but I’d never actually tried it for myself.
Well it turns out, I’m a big fan. There’s just something so comforting about the creamy garlicky-ness…
Especially when it’s mixed in with tender pasta, crunchy bacon, and fresh greens!
Back in the 1980s, Hollywood film star Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) created a company called Newman’s Own.
He used to make salad dressings at home, and they were so popular that eventually he set up his own company, bottling and selling the dressings, and donating 100% of the post-tax profits to charity.
I’ve been working with the brand this month to create four salad recipes and this is the very last in the bunch, so make sure you savour it!
So. This salad. This is the one that the girls all voted as their favourite at my garden party a couple of weeks ago. I had to go back to the kitchen twice and refill the bowl, because the girls ate ALL OF IT.
And to be fair, I can’t really blame them. I’ve been eating this one regularly since I first made it a month ago! It’s great for a packed lunch in the office, but it’s also so incredibly easy to make a big batch of it for a picnic or summer garden party.
I love pasta in general, but find that it can get a bit hot and heavy in summertime. So a chilled pasta salad is the perfect way to get my carb fix without overheating.
The Newman’s Own Ranch dressing is made with buttermilk, garlic and parsley, and it’s fantastic. Punchy, creamy, and it clings beautifully to the pretty pasta bows.
Then all you need are some crispy bacon bits, some green peas, and a handful of fresh baby spinach, and you’ve got yourself a bowl of summery pasta perfection!
Bacon, Pea and Pasta Salad with Creamy Ranch Dressing
INGREDIENTS (for two people – multiply as needed!)
200gr pasta (I use bows, but shells or twists would also be great!)
4 rashers of bacon (I use smoked back bacon)
1 cup of frozen peas
2 handfuls of baby spinach, washed and dried
2 tbsp Newman’s Own Ranch Salad Dressing*
1. Put a saucepan of water on to boil. Salt it generously, and when it starts bubbling, add the pasta. Cook for around 10 minutes, until the pasta is tender but still has a bit of bite (chefs call this al dente). Drain the pasta, then run some cold water over it to stop it cooking any further. Put the pasta in the salad bowl.
2. Use some kitchen scissors to chop your bacon up into small, bite-size pieces. Heat a frying pan, and add the bacon. Fry on a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is a golden-brown colour, slightly dark on the edges, and has a crispy texture. Add the bacon to the salad bowl.
3. Put the bacon pan back on the heat, and add the frozen peas. The ice will melt and steam the peas gently. Once they’re tender, turn the heat off and add the peas to the salad.
4. Drizzle over the Ranch dressing, and toss the salad until everything’s coated.
5. Finally, just before serving, add the spinach leaves and stir through.
*This post is sponsored by Newman’s Own.