Italian Pasta Salad

After the Cauliflower Pizza this week, I had left over fresh mozzarella and pepperoni.  Plus, we are starting to harvest some of the zuchinni from the garden.  What do I do with this? Add it to pasta of course!  Here is the recipe, hope you enjoy as much as our guys did!

Italian Pasta Salad

1 Box favorite dry pasta (We like Bertoli Whole Wheat Twists)
2C Fresh Mozzarella
2 medium Zuchinni
2 medium Red Peppers
1 can of medium olives, or large (chopped)
2 medium tomatoes
1/2 package of Pizza Pepperoni
1/4C favorite Italian salad dressing

Boil noodles according to directions. Strain. (DO NOT RINSE) While noodles are boiling. Seed and cut the zuchinni into spears (see picture above).  And, seed/cut the peppers into flat sections. Toss in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and kosher salt, let sit while the BBQ heats. You can grill veggies over a BBQ grill or you can roast them in the oven. Since its summer and I really didn’t need to heat the house any more, I grilled the veggies.

While veggies are grilling, cut fresh mozzarella, olives, tomatoes and pepperoni into small bite sized pieces.  Add to cooled pasta.  When veggies are sufficiently cooked, I prefer them with a bit of crunch left to complement the al dente pasta, let cool, cut and add to pasta.

Toss the pasta mixture with your favorite Italian salad dressing, we like the Kraft zesty or balsamic kind as it brings all kinds of new flavors to the dish.

The results: Kid tested and approved, we all love the dish!  It is light, refreshing and satisfying.

Hints

  1. If you boil the pasta in the morning, you can cool and store in the fridge for use later that day
  2. DO NOT rinse your pasta! I know it might be counter-intuitive, but adding more water just makes your pasta soggy. Nothing worse in a pasta salad than soggy pasta.  Also, rinsing keeps it from soaking in that lovely dressing.  If you want noodles with flavor, not a coating, then Do Not Rinse.
  3. Fresh mozzarella here is key, you can try the shredded cheese, but I don’t think it will have the same flavor (shredded cheese has a more prominent bite) and you miss out on the light, slight chew factor of the fresh.
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