Ahhh, another cold salad that is to-die-for-good and is perfect for this oh-so-hot-weather we’re all having! (What’s with me and all the hyphens I wonder?) This is something you can whip up in the morning and have in the fridge for dinner later in the day. You can customize it to what you’ve got or what sounds good to you. Same with the quantities. Since there are just two of us I only used a half of a box of pasta, but if you have a gaggle at home for dinner, then by all means, double the recipe, no worries!
This is what I had in my pasta salad, remember, there are no rules! I only used a little red onion because I didn’t want it to be too strong. I happened to have 3/4 of a banana pepper left and let me tell you it was tasty in this pasta salad!
This is what I had in the dressing… I’ve also made it with just olive oil, and with olive oil/balsamic vinegar… I have to say I like today’s recipe the best!
This is what the tomatoes should like like when you’re done roasting. Just until one starts to burst or get wrinkly. At this point they’ve achieved the sweetness that you oh so desire (trust me, you do!).
MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SALAD
Pasta of your choice, I used the mini bow tie pasta. I used 1/2 box. If you use a full box, double the recipe for the olive oil/balsamic vinegar/dijon mustard.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
S & P (kosher and fresh ground)
Vegetables to add to salad – anything goes! Whatever quantity you like.
I used 3/4 of a banana pepper and about 1/4 cup (or less) minced red onion, OH! and the container of grape tomatoes from the Farmers Market!
Feta cheese 2-4 oz.
Basil (fresh), washed, chopped, I used a few sprigs (maybe 15 leaves).
Thyme (fresh), washed, stripped from stalk – I only used a little about a teaspoon.
Olives! (Forgot those in the photos) – I used Kalamata, the big dark black olives, you can use a teaspoon or two of juice as well.
Preheat oven to 400 F
Boil water for the pasta. While the water is boiling wash and dry the grape tomatoes. (Yep, dry em… wash them well, then gently place on a clean towel, roll them around and they will be dry!)
Toss the grape tomatoes into a bowl with about a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Using your hands stir them around so that they’re all coated with the olive oil. Now using your olive oil hand, grease the cookie sheet (I use one with a lip so that they don’t go rolling off into your oven!), if you need a wee bit more olive oil go ahead and get some, but you only want to LIGHTLY oil the cookie sheet, otherwise you will have stinky deep fried smelling tomatoes and who wants that?
Once tomatoes are coated slide them onto the cookie sheet.
By now your pasta water should be boiling, toss in the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain in a colander once pasta is cooked.
Check your tomatoes, you just want them to start to get crinkly. It’s not horrible if they totally fall apart, but then you’ll have little tomato pieces instead of more sturdy pieces. Roasting the tomato gives it sweetness you cannot begin to fathom. Seriously! When they’re done, cut them in half. You don’t have to but sometimes they can be kind of big in a salad.
Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk and then pour over cooked pasta that you have placed in a large bowl. Stir it until pasta is coated well.
Now for the fun part… I added banana pepper and red onion. Add what you like, as much or as little as you like! Add it to the pasta, stir it in.
Add 2-4 oz. of feta and mix it in. Remember you can always add it on top, so don’t add too much. Been there. Done that.
Add fresh chopped (or in my case snipped with scissors) basil and thyme (again, stripped from the stalk).
Chill (but go ahead and try some now… try to leave some for everyone else. It’s that good, yep! – Yield approximately 4 servings.
Catch you back here tomorrow!