Finally! Summer seems to have broken through the grip of the nasty winter. This means a return to colder food, and of course, salads are on the menu.
I recently had to prepare a filling dish that was easy to transport. Nothing like a good old pasta salad to fit this bill. Bored with my regulars, I decided to come up with something new, pretty much hauling out whatever was in my fridge, and it worked!
I was so inspired by the colors of my favorite country in the world to visit – Italy. The red, white and green are covered by the pasta and zfatit cheese (white); roasted red peppers and cherry tomatoes (red); and rocket and basil (green). With a few additional colors abd tastes to round out the flavor, this salad is just yummy, and looks great on a table. You can also adjust the quantities of the vegetables and cheese according to your own preferences.
ITALIAN FLAG PASTA SALAD
500 g (1lb) penne pasta (or any other sturdy noodle)
1-2 cups of roasted pepper pieces (if you’re in a hurry, you can used bottled roasted peppers, or for a more tasty option, roast them yourself – click here for the “how to”).
200 g (7 oz) Tzfatit cheese cut into small cubes (I recommend the Meshek Tzuriel brand – very creamy) If you can’t get Tzfatit, use a very mild feta cheese. For the parev version, just omit the cheese.
½ cup of chopped black olives (I buy the pre-cut olives – saves tons of time)
¾ cup corn kernels
About 15 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
A large handful of rocket leaves
A small handful of fresh basil leaves chopped
¾ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
How to do it
1. Roast the peppers (if you’re not buying). You can prepare them ahead of time and refrigerate. Cut the peeled roasted peppers into small pieces.
2. Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box. When you drain the pasta, rinse with cold water to cool down quickly and set aside. Rinsing also stops the pasta from sticking together.
3. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, peppers and all the rest of the ingredients and gently toss.
4. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad and mix
Serves about 12 as a side dish.