Recipe : A Pasta Salad Everyone Loves

This could very well be the food I would choose if for some reason I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life. I have been making it since I first began cooking for myself and haven’t changed the formula since. Warning : Leftovers stored in the fridge will not last long. You will constantly be having just a little bit more, until it is all gone! Seriously.

Ingredients: (to make 6 to 8 servings)

– 1 small package (450 grams) pasta noodles, such as Fusilli, Penne. I used bow ties (aka Farfalle).
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 1/3 cup wine vinegar
– 2 small or 1 large clove of garlic
– 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
– 2/3 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon pine nuts. I would use 2 tablespoons of they weren’t so expensive. That said, one tablespoon goes a long way on flavour.
– 2 or 3 tomatoes
– Some feta cheese. I used a piece about 2 x 3 inches big. Rinse and cube the cheese.
– About 1 cup of olives, your choice of type but Kalamatas are perfect.
– Some fresh basil leaves (do not substitute with dry) Omit it if you don’t have any.

How to make it:

Cook pasta and drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Different brands and noodle shapes take different cooking times, so take the guess work out by checking the package for suggested time and set your timer. You want it completely cooked through but not soggy.

To make dressing: Mix together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper flakes and minced garlic. A note about using fresh garlic. It is much nicer it you remove the inner core. I’ve taken a picture so you’ll understand what I mean. Take the centre out and only use the outer part.

Pour the dressing over the noodles while they are still hot/warm. This causes it to be absorbed better.

Cut tomatoes once across and squeeze out the seeds and liquid into a bowl and then chop. Use the juice in something else or drink it like I do. yum. We were lucky to have tomatoes from my sister’s neighbour’s garden!

Rinse and tear your basil into small pieces. Tearing instead of cutting with a knife will help keep the basil nice and green rather than turning black. Not sure why, but it works.

Take the pits out of the olives by making a cut in each one and flattening it with the side of a knife. This will really loosen the pit so you can get it out easily. Chop up olive pulp.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, tossing frequently. Careful, they burn easily. Chop them up.

Add all the ingredients to the pasta mixture and toss. Eat it now while it’s still warm, or let it cool completely.

If you bring this to a picnic or potluck, everyone will be asking who made the pasta salad. Take a bow! And then go have some yourself, before it’s all gone.

xo loulou