Even though it’s only Monday, I know this week is going to be a crazy one. With a week to go until Baby C is due to arrive, last-minute preparations have taken over my life. I know people say you can never be truly ready for a child, but I want to be as prepared as possible. This means lots of cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning and crafting. Since Eric will be taking off two weeks once our little girl gets here, I knew I needed to find a few lunch recipes to have on hand. I didn’t want us to eat sandwiches or leftovers (assuming we have them) every day, but I was having trouble thinking of what I might want to eat. Eric suggested pasta salad, and I was sold.
The weather has been unseasonably warm around here, and this recipe immediately jumped out at me as something I would enjoy in the spring or summer. I decided to make it this week so we could give it a try before Baby C arrives, and I’m so glad I did! It made an excellent lunch, and it’s something that we can easily throw together while we’re adjusting to parenthood. I love sun-dried tomatoes and was intrigued by their use in this recipe. Not only are they chopped up and put into the salad, they’re also the base of the dressing. The dressing has a bit of kick to it thanks to the red wine vinegar and a bit of saltiness from the capers. This salad was light and refreshing and reminded me of summer. I made a few changes to the recipe to suit our personal tastes. Since neither of us are big fans of olives, I omitted them completely. I added a shallot and slightly increased the amount of pasta. One thing we both noticed while eating this was that there was a lot of cheese and tomatoes and not that much pasta. I think adding a little more really helped balance out the salad, and I’ve reflected my changes below. Once we finish this batch, we will definitely be making another one to have when the baby arrives.
- YIELD: 8 servings
For the salad:
¾ pound fusili pasta
1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 shallot, diced
For the dressing:
5 sun-dried tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon capers, drained
1½ teaspoons Kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool. Place the pasta in a large bowl with the tomatoes, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and shallot.
To make the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, oil, garlic, capers, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined and almost smooth. Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle on Parmesan and basil and toss well.