Don’t get me wrong, this girl loves rich, comfy food. The holidays scream out to you to eat the fudge, the extra serving of pumpkin pie, and the gravy and mashed potatoes. Nope, you won’t hear a single complaint from me! *but*, there is this side to me lately where I’m c-r-a-v-i-n-g summertime foods, such as this cold pasta salad. Maybe I’m just missing California, or have a serious weakness for pasta, but really, this should be in your repertoire of lunch time recipes. It’s cold, it’s super flavorful, and a single batch of it sets you up for a healthy lunch all week! That’s a win, win, win folks.
It would also make for a lovely light dinner (especially a “dinner for one please!” as I so often need during the week while Kurt works in NYC), if you served it with the much more winter appropriate: creamy carrot soup. Add a glass of wine and well, you might just have yourself one perfect little meal.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound tricolor pasta, such as bowtie or fusilli
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2/3 to 3/4 extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup diced onion (I love using a sweet onion here)
2 large pickled pepperoncini peppers, diced
3 tablespoons halved black olives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 tablespoons grated romano cheese, optional
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then rinse with cold water to cool
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: Whisk the vinegar, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in enough of the oil to make a smooth dressing; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, onion, pepperoncini, olives and oregano in a bowl. Add the cooked pasta, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the vinegrette and both cheeses and toss. Chill until ready to serve.
Serves 4 to 6