Summer Fever Pasta Salad
Summer Fever, anyone else?
Symptoms include (but limited to) unpedicured feet sporting sandals, spending much time outdoors wearing jackets when the sun goes down, chilling all your white wines, and craving fresh fruit and vegetables from your unplanted garden.
I can check all those boxes, for sure.
So clearly I'm ready.
So ready that I mixed up this pasta salad which stemmed from all the cravings I am currently experiencing.
And in doing so, I- a.) overpaid for each and every fresh ingredient b.) became more antsy for summer and c.) made a boat-load of pasta salad for a BBQ I didn't have.
So basically, I'll be eating this for the next 2 weeks. It's pretty delicious though so I can't truly complain. My husband, the anti-leftover type, may be making himself some grilled cheese in the foreseeable future truth be told.
Oh well, he'll survive and so will we as we await June 20 and that summer sun. If you need a little pick-me-up though to help get you there, go ahead and make this. Served along side that wine you've been chilling, it'll be just the remedy you need to bide your time.
Summer Fever Pasta Salad
1 lb Fusilli pasta, or any other medium sized shape you like (I'm a big fan of De Cecco brand FYI, not necessary but encouraged) I used De Cecco no. 98
1/2 C toasted pine nuts/pignolis
1/4 C finely chiffonaded fresh (and rinsed and dried) basil, or just thinly sliced, plus extra for garnish
5-6 slices prepared breaded and fried eggplant (most Italian markets sell)
1/4 C freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, rinsed and quartered
3/4 C fresh mozzarella, sliced and cut into 1 in. cubes (about 3/4th of a large mozzarella ball from the store)
2 TBS olive oil, plus extra for topping
heavy pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, at least 1/2-1 tsp each
6 - 8 TBS honey balsamic salad dressing, I used Ken's Steak House brand and loved it ( I prefer my salads less on the 'dressed' side so I did 6 TBS, add more TBSs if you want it more 'dressed')
Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Place the pasta in a large and deep bowl. Add all the ingredients listed and toss well to distribute.
Cover and store in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Before serving, top with additional grated cheese, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
****The next day, this is great served with freshly grilled chicken! Also, if you serve entirely the next day, you may need to add a few more TBS of dressing and a drizzle of olive oil to liven it up. ****