A Perfect Pasta Salad

One of my favorite things to do is to look in my refrigerator and pantry and come up with something fabulous!  This week it was a little of this and a little of that.  A yellow pepper, an english cucumber, roasted red peppers, a few olives, scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, feta, a teaspoon of parmesan, and roasted cherry tomatoes. Not enough of any one ingredient to do anything with, but it did remind me of my favorite pasta salad and I knew right away what I was making.  This is the salad that I would serve at any party and it was the one most requested when I was asked to bring something.  It is a recipe from an old friend, going back about 24 years!  It is so simple and the fact that you can use ingredients that you have on hand is an added bonus!  Make plenty, it goes quickly!

 

 

Serves: 6 people as a side               Prep/Cook Time:  1 hour (usually a lot less)

Ingredients:

1 lb rotini pasta

3/4 cup olive oil (divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

Red Pepper Flakes, to taste

1 sweet or yellow pepper, chopped

6 scallions, chopped

1 large cucumber, cubed

1/2 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup greek olives, chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I use the ones that come in olive oil, draining them first)

3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

 

1.  Cook pasta al dente, toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

2.  To cooled pasta add pepper, scallions, cucumber, artichoke hearts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and basil, mixing well.  Set aside.

3.  Make dressing by combining mustard, garlic, red pepper flakes, vinegar, 1/2 cup of olive oil, and salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

4.  Pour over pasta and combine well.  Enjoy!

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