As we prepare to celebrate our country’s independence (sorry UK friends!) we are undoubtedly searching for that perfect dish to serve to our drunk friends and relatives (or is that just my family and friends?) during our 4th of July parties. Something summery, fresh, yet comforting enough for when the alcohol kicks in. This brings us to pasta salad!
Being Italian, pasta was a staple in our household and sure enough during the summer months pasta salad was our special guest at the dinner table. For years I’d either avoid it, cry, or have to try and pick out all the nasty little olives my adult family members loved so much. Something must change as you get older because a few years ago I started to crave olives and have been a fan ever since.
However, during my hatred for the briny little fruit, I developed my own pasta salad to enjoy. I make it multiple times every summer and it’s always a hit. Combining my love for basil, tomatoes, and cheese I give you… Kat’s Olive (and tear) Free Pasta Salad!
- 1 LB ditalini
- 6 T roughly chopped fresh basil
- 3 T roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 C shredded parmesan cheese
- 3 C grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese cubed
- 3/4 C – 1 C good extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 t pepper (or to taste)
- 1/4 t salt (or to taste)
- Bring salted water to a rolling boil. Add ditalini and cook until al dente.
- Once the pasta is done, drain, and set aside to cool.
- In a separate bowl combine basil, Italian parsley, parmesan, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Give it a good stir.
- In a large bowl combine your herb/cheese/tomato mixture with the cooled pasta.
- Add all of your olive oil and stir until well coated. *Note: start with just 3/4 C of olive oil. Go tablespoon by tablespoon after that, you may not want or need the full cup.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place in a serving dish and chill for a few hours. Be sure to stir before serving.
- Using a thick balsamic reduction, drizzle just a tiny bit on top of the pasta before serving for a little extra sweet zing!
- Sometimes, if I’m feeling saucy (saucy? I think I just channeled Blanche Devereaux), I’ll replace 2-4 T of regular extra virgin olive oil with flavored specialty olive oil. My favorite to add is jalapeño garlic, but we like spicy in our house. Experiment with different flavors to find your favorite!
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