I think this is my favorite pasta salad. Although there was that one with the shrimp…and the one with the pesto….but this one is really great. It’s packed with flavor and always seems to get made several times throughout the summer. It’s from the Barefoot Contessa and can be made the night before (making putting together a meal nice and quick). I’ve listed her recipe below. The only things that I’ve changed are to make it all the more easy to throw together. When I make the dressing I don’t puree it, but instead just mix up the wet ingredients and add the chunks of sun dried tomato and capers by themselves. Also, as some of the ingredients can get a bit pricey, I usually double the amount of pasta to make it go a bit further.
1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
For the dressing:
5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon capers, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.
Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.