Spring always inspires me to cook a little lighter and move away from roasted root vegetable that seem to dominate the dinner plate during the long, dark, cold Minnesota winters. I love a spring that is slow in arriving, a gentle warming and the gradual appearance of green. But that hardly ever happens. It seems that I wake up one day and overnight a plethora of green emerges. It has been lovely here the past several weeks, warm and generally sunny. Life is good. My bees are in their hive. Tina was recently appointed Director of the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program. I have saved enough money to be out of work for a month if we strike in June and my health is good. Last week I made a wonderful pasta salad loaded with fresh ingredients. I don't make pasta very often, gluten-free packaged pasta just isn't that good. Although I do have a friend who eats GF pasta just because she thinks it is better. I am still trying to find that perfect cooking point, where the pasta is done but not falling apart! This however was full of such other great ingredients that the pasta was less significant in the big picture. You can adapt it to meet your preference!
For the pasta
1/2 pound pasta (I used a combination of fusilli and penne)
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and medium-diced
3/4 cup good kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium diced
1/2 pound Genoa salami, diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
For the dressing
5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 teaspoon capers, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned
Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil according to the directions on the package. I usually subtract a minute or two with GF pasta. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, salami, 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 cheese and basil, and toss well.