This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa is one of my favourite pasta salad recipes. Fresh tomatoes, black olives, fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes are tossed with cooked pasta and then dressed with a tangy vinaigrette. Top with grated Parmesan and chopped basil and you have a wonderful side dish or vegetarian lunch.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
It can be difficult to find sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil that do not contain sulfites. You can dry your own, or look for a sulfite-free brand, such as Mediterranean Organic. Check the ingredients on the olives and fresh mozzarella. I use Pilaros olives (available at Costco) and Tre Stella bocconcini cheese. Red wine vinegar can contain sulfites – I used Eden Organic brand. Unico capers are additive free. Make sure the Parmesan does not contain colour.
½ pound (225 g) fusilli (spirals) pasta
1 pound (454 g) ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
¾ cup (188 ml) good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
1 pound (454 g) fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
For the dressing:
5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons (90 ml) good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) capers, drained
2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup (250 ml) packed basil leaves, julienned
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or 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. Serves 6-8.
From the Barefoot Contessa