I love pasta salads. They are so versatile. You can flavor them in so many different ways. They are a perfect side dish in the summer!
I decided to go Italian style with this pasta salad. I brought it (along with last week’s gazpacho) to my family gathering of very picky eaters. I thought it would be great and not too much to handle for my family members. Thankfully, I was right. (That’s not to say there weren’t any difficulties. One person removed all their olives…another, all their cucumbers and tomatoes!!)
I would have preferred to use tri-color rigatoni. I thought I had it in my pantry. I was wrong. Regular rigatoni worked; the tri-color just would have added a little something more. A great thing about this recipe is how quick it is to make. Start chopping while the pasta cooks. Let the pasta cool, combine everything, and you’re good to go!
- Start by boiling some water. Salt it and add 1 box of rotini (regular or tri-colored…it’s your call!). Cook according to the directions on the box. Drain when finished cooking.
- Set the pasta aside to cool. *TIP: I added a little of the Italian dressing I was using in the salad to the hot pasta and mixed it up. This helped to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- While the pasta is cooking, chop up 1 English cucumber, halve a pint of grape tomatoes, halve about .6 pounds of small mozzarella balls, and chiffonade a good amount of fresh basil.
- When the pasta is cooled almost to room temperature add 1 small can of black olives (drain it first).
- Next, add the cucumbers.
- Then drop in the tomatoes.
- Add the mozzarella.
- Finish with the ribbons of basil.
- Mix everything together.
- Season with pepper (and salt if you’d like).
- Last, add 1 cup (or more) of your favorite Italian dressing. I used Ken’s (A balsamic vinaigrette would work well too.)
- Mix one last time.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Before you serve, grate some Parmesan cheese into the salad. Stir and enjoy!