The next time you attend a potluck, consider making this modern spin on a retro favorite: pasta salad. Portable, easy to make in large batches, not terribly temperature sensitive, and, most importantly, tasty, it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
What sets this salad apart from the rest is its zesty sun-dried-tomato dressing; made in a blender or food processor, it’s a mixture of tomatoes, capers, and garlic, thinned with olive oil and red wine vinegar. A generous handful of parmesan cheese and fresh basil finish off this satisfying salad that only tastes better the next day.
- 12 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and divided
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon capers, drained
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound orecchiette or other small pasta
- 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
- 3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced (optional)
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned
- Add half the sun-dried tomatoes, all the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to a food processor, and process until almost smooth.
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package in a large pot of seasoned boiling water until al dente. Drain well, then toss with the dressing in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, mince the remaining sun-dried tomatoes.
- Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, olives (if using), remaining sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, and basil to the salad. Toss to distribute evenly. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve at room temperature.
- Side Dishes, Salads
- 6 to 8 servings