Let’s be honest: nobody really loves pasta salad. It’s not one of those things to get super excited about. More often than not, it’s just that side dish that your aunt Sally always bring to the BBQ, probably from the pre-made foods section of the grocery store down the street.
But done properly, cold pasta can be a great side dish. Actually, it can be just as exciting as hot pasta – even more so on a sweltering day when spaghetti carbonara or tortellini or fettuccine Bolognese just sounds way too heavy.
Thanks to grape tomatoes, fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella and parmesan cheese, this cold pasta dish will fill you up without weighing you down. The key here, since everything is fresh, is using high quality ingredients – so don’t be a cheapskate. Time show aunt Sally how things are done.
Photo and recipe via The Food Channel
- 1 pound rotini pasta
- 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese
- 1 medium-sized shallot, sliced
- 7-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1-2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
- To tastee salt
- To taste pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well and let cool.
- 2 Add the pasta, tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella and shallot to a serving bowl.
- 3 Make the dressing: add the sun-dried tomatoes (with their oil) to a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse until sun-dried tomatoes are finely chopped, then run the food processor or blender while adding the olive oil. Run until a thick sauce forms. Taste, then add more pepper flakes and/or salt to taste.
- 4 Toss pasta with sauce. Store in refrigerator for up to three days.