This recipe for pasta salad is one I have been eating and enjoying for years. A good friend made it for us once, probably almost 20 years ago, and I remember calling her at least twice for the recipe. Of course, I lost it twice as well, but it's easy enough that you really don't even need a recipe if you remember the basic ingredients. There is really nothing particularly Asian in it, but the flavors go so well with Asian food I always make it with some yummy Asian marinated meat on the grill. Mostly what you taste in the dish are the wonderful fresh vegetables -- they go so well together. I usually put the cashews in a dish on the side, not only because I have a nut-allergic child, but also because the cashews get soggy in the leftovers, which are otherwise wonderful. There is no vinegar in this recipe, so don't think you're missing something. ;-)
This pasta salad is best served at room temperature, so if you make it far enough in advance that you don't want it sitting out for hours, remember to remove it from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving time -- more if it is thoroughly chilled. There is no dairy in it and nothing that will spoil even if left out for several hours. I wouldn't go more than three.
Asian Pasta Salad
1 lb. rotini pasta
3/4 cup yellow bell pepper, sliced thin and in bite-size lengths
3/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced thin and in bite-size lengths
1 cup sugar snap or snow peas, washed and string removed, halved
1/2 medium red onion, quartered and sliced thin
1/2 to 3/4 cup mild oil -- mild olive, canola or peanut
4 cloves garlic crushed
salt to taste
1 cups cashew pieces or whole cashews, salted
Cook pasta to al dente in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain but do not rinse. Drizzle with a small amount of oil (a few tablespoons) to keep it from sticking and let sit to cool, tossing occasionally.
Meanwhile, add garlic to remaining oil and cook to simmering in the microwave (or over the stove). Do not cook the garlic, you just want to infuse the oil with the flavor and lose a little bit of that raw garlic flavor. When oil has simmered for about 10 seconds remove from microwave and let cool.
When pasta cools to just a little warmer than room temp add oil and toss. You can start with a half cup and add more if it seems dry. Or save some of the oil and add it just before serving if you have a long hang time. Add peppers, onions and peas and toss. Salt to taste and let sit at room temp until ready to serve. Serve with cashews.
Source: my friend Gina