You know summer has arrived in Sacramento when it's 11:00 at night and it's 85°F outside!
We had our first over 100° day of the season yesterday, prompting the wisest of the city's population to stay huddled indoors next to an AC vent. (That would be me.)
Even my mother drove the half block it takes to get to my house from hers when she stopped by to visit. (She gets a pass, she's 80.)
What to make/eat on a hot day? This pasta salad. It has two of my favorite food groups—avocado & bacon—which basically taste great with anything, and especially with chipotle marinated shrimp.
The zesty lime vinaigrette dressing ties everything together.
Pro tip on pasta salads: add more vinegar than you would expect. A typical vinaigrette ratio is 2:1 or 3:1 oil to acid. This salad's vinaigrette is more like 2:3. Some of that acid is to counteract the richness of the avocado and bacon. Some of it is just because pasta salads do better with more vinegar. It brightens the flavor.
Shrimp, Bacon, Avocado Pasta Salad
- 1/2 pound dry fusilli pasta
- 1/2 pound of peeled, deveined raw shrimp
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more salt for the pasta water)
- 3-4 thick-cut slices of bacon (about 3 ounces), sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced, including the green onion greens
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 cup (packed) roughly chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Toss shrimp with chipotle chile powder and salt and put in the refrigerator to marinate while you make the pasta and the rest of the salad.
Put a large pot of salted water on to a boil (2 quarts of water, 1 Tbsp salt).
While the water is heating, cook the bacon. Put the bacon in a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook until most of the fat has rendered out and the bacon pieces are lightly browned. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Discard or save for future use all but one tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat (do not pour bacon fat down the drain or you will be calling your plumber).
Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp. Sauté until done, a few minutes.
When the pasta water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, cooked through but still a little firm to the bite (usually 1 or 2 minutes less than what the package calls for).
Put all of the dressing ingredients into a jar, cover and shake until well blended.
When the pasta is ready, strain it and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss with the shrimp, bacon, bell peppers, and onions. Add the cilantro and avocado just before serving.