I like the mixture of whole wheat and white pasta in this salad; the whole wheat rotini adds extra flavor and nutrients. You could substitute all white rotini with successful results, but I don’t recommend using all whole wheat because its flavor is too strong. Whenever I have served this salad to a large crowd, it has been very popular. Children are attracted to it because of the playful shape of the rotini, which entices them to eat it with their fingers.

SERVES 6

ВЅ pound whole wheat rotini (short spiral-shaped pasta)*

ВЅ pound white rotini

3 cups sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups broccoli florets**

1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

15 cherry tomatoes

ВЅ cup chopped fresh parsley

Вј cup finely diced red onion

DRESSING

в…” cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 cloves garlic, minced

ВЅ teaspoon dried basil

Вј teaspoon dried oregano

Вј teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled

Вј teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

Liberal seasoning freshly ground pepper

*One-half pound of rotini is about 3ВЅ cups uncooked. Whole wheat rotini can be purchased at health food stores and some specialty food shops.

**The broccoli stalks can be used in Lemon-Glazed Broccoli Stalks Julienne.

  1. Cook both pastas together in a large pot of rapidly boiling water until al dente. Drain in a colander and run under cold water. Drain again thoroughly, then put into a large serving bowl.
  2. Saut the mushrooms in the olive oil until tender and brown, then add to the pasta and toss.
  3. Steam the broccoli until tender yet still bright green. Immerse in cold water to stop further cooking, then drain very well. Pat dry with a towel and add to the pasta.
  4. If you are using fresh peas, steam them just until tender, about 5 minutes, or add them raw for a nice touch if they are particularly young and sweet. If you are using frozen peas thoroughly defrost them, or place in a sieve and pour hot water over them; they do not need further cooking. Pat dry, then add to the pasta.
  5. Add the cherry tomatoes, parsley, and onion and mix well.
  6. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Pour onto the pasta and toss until well coated. Cover and chill for 2 hours or up to 48 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.