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Bruschetta Pasta Salad is summer in a bowl

Everybody Craves | Meghan Rodgers
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Meghan Rodgers | For the Tribune-REview
Bruschetta Pasta Salad utilizes that bumper crop of summer tomatoes.

If you had to describe summer in one bite, it would probably be something cool and refreshing. It would definitely be loaded with the flavors of juicy, local tomatoes and fresh, fragrant basil. It would be easy to make and light to eat. It would be this pasta salad.

You can choose any pasta you have in your pantry, but I if you’re going shopping, pick up some orecchiette. The shape is perfect for cradling small cherry tomatoes. If you use a pasta with more nooks and crannies, you may have to add more dressing to coat.

If you’re a backyard gardener, or if you’ve inherited a crop of heirlooms or other full-sized tomatoes, use those! Yum! Don’t buy special cherry tomatoes just for this. Just chop up whatever you have — maybe even a mix! — and toss with the pasta and other ingredients. It’s a great way to use up a crop of tomatoes. You can even consider going heavy on the tomatoes and light on the pasta for a lower-carb pasta salad that tastes great and still delivers all the flavors of summer.

Serve with wine and enjoy your easy, breezy summertime dinner.

Bruschetta Pasta Salad

Ingredients

1 pound orecchiette pasta (or other bite-sized pasta)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil + 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

8-10 basil leaves, chopped

Balsamic glaze, for serving (optional)

Directions

1. Bring a large pot with salted water to a boil, and cook orecchiette according to package, or until al dente. Drain and transfer to large serving bowl. Lightly drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat. This will keep pasta from sticking. Let cool at least 10 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Add garlic and tomatoes to bowl with pasta. Drizzle with dressing and toss until well-coated.

4. Sprinkle with chopped basil leaves.

5. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and serve warm or chill in the fridge for a few hours first for a cool, refreshing dinner on a hot day.

Article by Meghan Rodgers,
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