Every August, when we’re in the middle of a heat wave (check!) and I’m swimming in an overabundance of garden tomatoes and basil (check!), I turn to this Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. My whole family loves it. Even my un-salad husband, which must be testimony to this pasta’s tastiness. It’s bursting with summer flavor and is perfect for toting along to a picnic at the park.
I first made this salad for a dear friend’s bridal shower. Crazy how time flies by. I looked up how long Danielle and Kelly have been married, and they just celebrated nine years this summer. To raise a glass to Danielle’s upcoming wedding all those years ago, a bunch of us girls met at St. Croix Vineyards, near Stillwater, MN. We enjoyed some wine tasting in their beautifully restored barn and then a picnic lunch under a shady canopy of trees. Danae brought a tasty Asian noodle salad and I came bearing this Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. For the occasion, I girlied it up a bit by using the very pretty campanelle pasta. It was a hit, and I’ve been making it ever since.
Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 lb. fusilli (spirals) pasta – I also love to use campanelle (flowers) pasta
1 lb. cherry tomatoes, quartered
3/4 c. kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 tsp. capers
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
1/3 c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
for the dressing:
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
1 large garlic clove, diced
1 tsp. capers, drained
2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c. packed basil leaves, julienned
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts, optional
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil according to the directions on the package, taking care to not overcook. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, capers, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.
Pour the dressing over the pasta. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, basil, and optional pine nuts, and toss well.
This salad sits well, so you can make it early in the day. Add the Parmesan, basil and optional pine nuts just before serving.
Servings: 10 to 12
Source: adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”