Chilled chicken sweetcorn pasta salad, I can think of nothing better to eat for Lunch on a hot humid summers day. Except maybe ice cream but one can not live on ice cream alone. Or so I tell myself.
I began craving pasta salad earlier this week when I was wracking my brain about what I should cook. I didn’t want chakchouka, fries or hmiss – grilled pepper salad which frequent my table during the summer and I had grown bored of the same-old salad.
Then I remembered the delicious mayo ladened pasta salads, the best double chocolate chunk cookies and brownies from my high school days, but I digress. Thus I was sold on pasta salad and just had to go about recreating my favourite high school lunch.
I used shredded cooked meat from the neck and back of a chicken because those parts are all I had stocked in the freezer. These parts of the chicken are reserved usually for soups yet in summer I can’t bring myself to make soup unless we are in Ramadan (month of fasting), I’m in the midst of a British summer or like today when my 8yrs old son requests addass-lentil soup. You can use any part of the chicken you prefer for this pasta salad but chicken breast comes to mind as the healthiest option.
This recipe which I don’t even like to refer to as a recipe because it’s so simple, it would work just as well with canned tuna (drain any brine or oil away first) and you’ll need a couple of cans.
I didn’t realise there was such thing as white corn until I recently had a cob. At first my thoughts were that the corn was too young when picked therefore inferior, however the taste was just as sweet as yellow corn. For aesthetics yellow corn is probably the way to go and you can go ahead and grill it if you like, or maybe you have some leftover from a summer barbecue and yes you can use canned too – remember to drain it first.
Basically any raw or cooked veg can go into your pasta salad, think chickpeas, green peas, carrots. The key is to have all your ingredients roughly the same size.
Lastly let’s talk pasta; regular macaroni – elbow pasta, small macaroni, small shells, bow ties are the best in my opinion for pasta salads. Penne and fusilli are good alternatives.
Although we call this a salad it’s not exactly healthy by modern-day standards due to the amount of mayo. I don’t care for fat-free anything and while technically this salad serves two (75g dried pasta per person) I managed to eat it over a course of three days, one day I ate it twice; for lunch and a midnight snack after a light or non-existent dinner due to the heat and no appetite. Therefore I squeezed four portions out of this pasta salad made for two.
It will take some further convincing my children who have known nothing else than warm saucy pasta to enjoy this cold salad style pasta. Maybe when they are teenagers in high school (like I was) they will take a liking to my pasta salad.
Mayo ladened chicken sweetcorn pasta salad
- 150 grams elbow pasta (moyen coude)
- 1 halal chicken neck and back
- 150 g sweetcorn kernels, cooked (approximately 1 cob boiled)
- 1/2 cucumber, skin removed, deseeded and diced
- 1-2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- 1/2 cup full-fat mayonaise
- Pinch of ground black pepper *optional
- Cook chicken neck and back in a pot of boiling seasoned water with a bay leaf for approximately 30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked but not dry. Remove, allow to cool then shred the meat from the bone. Set aside, in the fridge if making ahead.
- Cook pasta in a seperate pot of boiling salted water with a splash of olive oil according to packet instructions. Once cooked drain and toss with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and allow to cool to room temp before mixing with the other ingredients.
- Boil/grill Sweetcorn if not using canned.
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir together. Chill until serving.
- This pasta salad tastes best after approximately 12 hours chilling. It can be made a day ahead of serving and lasts for upto 3 days once refrigerated.