Thursday, August 7, 2014
Summer Pasta Salad
Some of my most favorite summer memories revolve around pasta salad. Pasta salad is to summer what turkey is to fall. Or something like that. I've been working from Zurich, Switzerland for the last couple of weeks, where the sun is shining and "lake life" is something that people here do on the reg. Lake Zurich is right in the middle of the city and it features icy cold, crystal clear water paired with many a grassy knoll to spread a blanket out on to while away whole morning and afternoons, and sometimes evenings too. It's not uncommon to see very serious-looking businessmen and women come meandering by after work, strip down, and jump right into the water. It's a good life out here.
With a body of water as good as that, one really needs a good pasta salad recipe, since one can rarely be persuaded to move one's ass once firmly planted lakeside. So, I went to the market, picked up a batch of the freshest, ripest summer tomatoes on the block and tinkered around in the kitchen until I came up with this beauty of a salad. It includes a lot of my most-loved ingredients including the aforementioned tomatoes, Lucques olives, soft goat cheese, and loads of herbs. I made a nice, big batch, most of which is sitting in separate tupperware containers in the fridge as I type, waiting for tomorrow, when I'll tote one of those babies with me to the lake to nibble on all day long. Doesn't get much better. xo
Summer Pasta Salad
12 oz. of your favorite small pasta (i.e. penne, orecchiette, et al.)
3 cloves garlic, skin on
12 oz. (or a bit more!) cherry tomatoes, a mix of colors
6 oz. crumbled goat cheese (feta or any soft goat cheese)
1 handful of your favorite olives, pitted
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1 handful fresh basil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Throw in the pasta and cloves of garlic, boil until al dente, drain and run under cold water to cool. Put the pasta into a large bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss to keep from sticking. Put the garlic to one side to use for the dressing.
Chop the tomatoes, olives, chives, and basil into pieces about half the size of the pasta and add to the bowl along with the goat cheese and mix all together. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and mash into a paste with the back of a wooden spoon. Place into a small bowl and add the vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle this over the salad and mix well.