Wow! That was a long break, I've been trying to get back to blogging but LIFE has interfered. However, there was quite a bit of cooking going on and I am going to be sharing some of the best stuff from the past few months, so buckle up!
To start, here is an amazing three cheese pasta salad--you can use up the last of the cherry tomatoes and basil from the garden in this one.
3/4 lb Rotini, hot, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped very fine
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked back pepper
Make dressing in a large bowl. Toss in hot Rotin, cover and let stand for at least 5 minutes.
Prepare the following and stir into the warm pasta all at once.
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 diced yellow bell pepper
1/3 cup roughly chopped artichoke hearts, packed in water
1.3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios
6 ounces string cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
6 ounces diced fresh mozzerella
4 ounces freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Check for seasonings and add salt and/or vinegar if needed. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.
Hints: I salt the water generously when cooking pasta. The hot pasta will absorb the oil and vinegar nicely. It will also cook the garlic slightly, mellowing the raw bite. Measurement of the veggies can be loosely adhered to, or use what you have on hand--zucchini or cucumber, roasted butternut or banana squash, beets or brocolini. This makes a large salad, perfect for taking to a pot luck or buffet. A great salad to make a day ahead.
I got a few really nice complements on this salad (and not one complaint). The pistachios add crunchy, salty goodness to the mix with out breaking down over time. The two types of mozzarella are mild but satisfying. The tomatoes are of course best when sun ripened and juicy. And who doesn't love fresh basil?