Pasta Salad is a great family party dish. This recipe uses a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing, and therefore will keep well on a buffet table or outdoors for a summer party. It is healthy, savory and so easy to make. The secret for this dish is to marinate cut tomatoes, salt and sliced garlic in olive oil for a few hours first. The juice from the tomatoes and garlic-infused olive oil become the base for the dressing. To make this a kid-friendly dish, I leave out the red pepper flakes, and toss the fresh garlic after they have perfumed the oil.
Pasta Salad is versatile and delicious. It is great for a family party, can hold its own on a buffet table, and can be made from endless combinations of fresh vegetables, cured meats and cheeses. I like this one with the bright colors and flavors, and the red wine vinegar & olive oil dressing.
- 1 pint red cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 pint yellow grape tomatoes cut in half
- 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt plus 1 tablespoon Kosher salt for pasta water
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 TB dried oregano
- 1/2 TB ground black pepper
- 1 lb mezza rigatoni or farfalle, fusilli, elbow mac, or penne
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 yellow red pepper diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- 12 oz fresh green bean trimmed and cut in 1 inch pieces
- 10 oz whole black kalamata olives, pitted and drained
- 1 cup cubed dry italian salami
- 1 cup cubed provolone cheese
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
- ½ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
In a large glass bowl, mix the tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt, garlic and olive oil. Let marinate at room temperature for several hours. The juice from the tomatoes and olive oil mixture is the base for the salad dressing.
Remove the garlic slices and toss. Remove the tomatoes and set aside.
Whisk the red wine vinegar, oregano and black pepper into the olive oil/tomato juice mixture. Set aside.
Bring pot of water with 1 TB salt to boil. Cook the pasta in boiling water for 7-9 minutes until “al dente”.
Drain the pasta and put in large serving bowl. While still warm pour the olive oil mixture over the pasta and mix well. The pasta will absorb the flavor.
Add the peppers, celery, green beans, kalamata olives, salami, cheese, parsley and basil to the cooled pasta, and carefully mix. Season with remaining salt.
Served room temperature. Can be stored in fridge until ready to serve.