This post really needs to start with a confession: I did not make this dish. I bought the ingredients, but I had absolutely nothing to do with the assembly. Not that I don’t want to take credit for it. It was superb. But I was off-duty enjoying a lovely, chore-free Mother’s Day. The husband and the world’s greatest kid put this together as part of a truly relaxing, enjoyable day for moi! No cooking, no dishes, re-fills on wine, plentiful hugs. It was all good!
Including this pasta salad, which should go on every picnic menu you put together from now until you can’t eat another pickled banana pepper. It deviated wonderfully from the all-too-predictable pasta salad of yesteryear: tomatoes, broccoli, green onions, yada yada yada, slathered in Kraft Italian Dressing. Don’t make that one again. Make this one. Great flavors from sweet to savory, great textures from crisp and crunchy to smooth and creamy. When I tried it, Kat asked what I thought and I blurted out, “It’s like a fiesta in your mouth!” I’ll probably regret that later, but at the time it caused endless giggles and was a spot on description.
Let the fiesta begin. Enjoy!
Italian Basil Pasta Salad (recipe adapted from Taste of Home)
- 1 package (16 oz) bow tie pasta
- 2 c grape tomatoes
- 7 oz mozzarella cheese pearls, halved
- 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1/2 c pickled banana pepper rings, diced
- 1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained (the husband used capers)
- 4 thin slices hard salami, chopped
- 1/2 c fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 3/4 c olive oil
- 3/4 c red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, tomatoes, cheese, yellow pepper, onion, pepper rings, olives (or, capers, if you’re so inclined), salami and basil.
- In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Cook’s Notes: Make this a day ahead if you can, to let the flavors really come together.