Monday, June 14, 2010

Refreshing Summer Pasta Salad


Two Versions of a Summer Pasta Salad

Summer isn't officially here, but since we've had a few hot (almost muggy actually!) days I've made both versions of this salad in the last week.  It's something that I sorta-kinda made up based on flavors that I love-- garlic, basil, pesto and balsamic vinegar.

It's super easy to put together and The Mister and the kiddos love it.

{Version 1: Light & Refreshing}
2 bundles of Buckwheat Soba (or 7 oz cappelini), cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup Fresh Mozzarella, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup Fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 cup Heirloom tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Pesto sauce
Olive Oil to drizzle
Garlic Salt to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese, finely grated

{Version 2: Caprese style}
substitute the Pesto with a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar.

{side note}
 For a rich flavor, invest in a good Balsamic Vinegar (preferably an Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena) which has a rich flavor and isn't as acidic as other vinegars.  It really makes a difference and a little goes a long way.


Cook soba according to package directions (around 5 minutes).  Cut up mozzarella, basil and tomatoes.  Grate Parmesan-Reggiano cheese. After noodles are cooked, rinse in cool water and drain.  Place noodles in  a large bowl and cut into bite size pieces (I use kitchen shears).  Add the mozzarella, basil, tomatoes and pesto sauce   **or if you're doing caprese-style, omit pesto and drizzle  a little balsamic vinegar instead.  Toss, then lightly drizzle olive oil and add a little garlic salt.  Toss and add more olive oil, garlic salt and pesto/vinegar to taste.  Sprinkle parmesan on top and serve.

To make this a full meal, serve on a bed of chopped lettuce with additional olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I throw in feta too.  Extra good with a nice, crusty bread.