Mary Beth Johnson is a photographer, blogger, and journalist with a passion for finding beauty in unexpected places and celebrating the everyday. Originally from the east coast, she now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children (dubbed “schooners”). From an office full of fingerprints and walls scattered with imperfect artwork, she’s writing her first book, a memoir of her parents’ journey in raising 14 children, and her own lifestyle blog, Annapolis & Company.
Lemons and summer go hand in hand. You shouldn’t have one without the other, or so it seems to me. One day when we stake our roots somewhere for longer than a year I’m going to plant myself a meyer lemon tree in the backyard and go crazy baking lemon bars and mixing up fresh-squeezed lemonade. When the kids fall asleep for their naps, you’ll find me licking lemon curd off of a spoon. 😉
It’s safe to say, summertime is here for us in the south. The days are longer, the sun stronger, the fireflies creep out at night. We come home after long afternoons swimming in the pool and crave food that is cold and fresh and easy to throw together.
This pasta salad is just that…fresh lemons, fresh thyme, sweet green peas, and a pinch of dijon mustard. I served this as a side to a sunday lunch with friends and paired it with chicken sandwiches, fresh watermelon, and southern sweet tea. Summertime at its’ finest.
Hope you enjoy!
//LEMON PANCETTA PASTA SALAD
(Serves about 6)
12 oz salad-size macaroni pasta, cooked according to package instructions and cooled
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
4 oz diced and crisped pancetta
• Creamy, Lemon-Thyme Dressing (recipe below)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
Add the cooked and cooled macaroni to a large bowl, and add in the thawed petite peas and the diced, crisped pancetta; if serving immediately, toss with the Creamy, Lemon-Thyme Dressing, and garnish with the thyme leaves; if making ahead, prepare all components and keep them separate, then toss the dressing with the pasta/peas/pancetta when ready to serve, to keep the pasta salad moist and fresh; keep cold.
Creamy, Lemon-Thyme Dressing ingredients:
3/4 cup mayo
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Add all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and process the mixture until thick and completely creamy; store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve the salad, at which point you can toss the dressing with the pasta.