Italian Pasta Salad

Where has the time gone? I can’t fathom that it’s already June. Nevertheless summer is here. Kids are out of school, families are ready to take their summer vacation and well it’s officially BBQ season. In my world (Southern Cali) BBQ season is year round. I know I am so lucky!

Summer is about sitting in my backyard in the hot sun or shade and immerse in the sounds of the grill sizzling. The BBQ master in my house is the hubby, but let me tell you I am getting good at it. Sometimes I just can’t wait for him to get home from work to grill, so I am taking control over this BBQ thing. But do you want to know what’s better than grilling steak, ribs or chicken on the grill? The side dishes you’re going to inhale before you even have what’s been grilled.  I am talking coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, corn bread and my favorite Italian pasta salad.

Though this pasta salad looks decadent, I promise it actually tastes quite light. OK maybe not light in calories. But who cares…this can be your cheat meal of the week.

The recipe starts with marinating the cherry tomatoes in a lemon vinaigrette. The vinaigrette adds some tang to the sweet tomatoes. Allow for the tomatoes to immerse in the vinaigrette for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile prepare the rest of the salad by simply cooking the pasta and chopping the rest of the ingredients. I must admit. I almost ran out of the salami because I kept sneaking pieces in my mouth. I am sucker for salami.

Once the tomatoes are all juicy and soaked in the vinaigrette, toss all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. This salad can be done in 30 minutes or less. Perfect for a weeknight BBQ. If you happen to eat vegetarian omit the salami. It tastes just as amazing without it.

Italian Pasta Salad

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup salami, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in small cubes
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 9 ounces of fresh gluten-free pasta (or non GF)

Instructions

Combine first 7 ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Add in tomatoes and allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile cook the pasta to manufacturers instructions. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature. Add pasta, salami, cheeses and basil into the bowl of marinated tomatoes. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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