The first time I ever made pasta salad, I used a packaged kit. The one with the baggie of dehydrated vegetables that look like the grit that collects under your forks and spoons in the silverware tray.
Suddenly, I understood why they were so generous with the dressing.
I wish I’d known then that in the same 10 to 15 minutes it takes to boil one of those kits, I could have thrown together Ina Garten’s Pasta with Tomatoes, Black Olives and Mozzarella.
While the pasta was boiling, I could have been at the food processor, whipping up the sun-dried tomato dressing, which gets a nice zing from the tomatoes, red wine vinegar and capers.
Instead of sitting down to shells and vegetable remnants, I could have spooned out this bowl of fusilli tossed with ripe tomatoes, black olives, diced mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes and topped with grated Parmesan and fresh basil.
I want those 15 minutes back.
Pasta with Tomatoes, Black Olives and Mozzarella
Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
- 3/4 cup black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
- 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 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.