The Best Pasta Salad

My husband and I love having friends over in the summer. To keep it fun I’ve learned to do most things in advance, so when everybody arrives I’m out enjoying their company instead of being stuck in the kitchen. I’m always looking for recipes that are especially good for outdoors parties. I’m careful to pick things that are safe to sit out for an hour or so.

The recipe I’m sharing today is healthy, serves a lot of people, can be made ahead and uses olive oil instead of mayonnaise. I tried it last week to make sure it passed “the test,” and it got rave reviews. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I think the garlic cloves added to the boiling pasta and then smashed up into the dressing made this recipe extra special. It’s from Naked Chef.

Ingredients

11 ounces small shell pasta
3 garlic cloves
9 ounces yellow cherry tomatoes
9 ounces cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 medium cucumber
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Throw in the pasta and garlic, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until al dente, and drain. Put the garlic to one side for the dressing. Put the pasta in a large bowl.

Chop the tomatoes, olives, chives, basil and cucumber into pieces about half the size of the pasta and add to the bowl. Squash the garlic cloves out of their skins and pound in a pestle and mortar. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, just use the bottom of a sturdy glass to smash the cloves on a cutting board. Add the vinegar, oil and seasoning. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, adding a little more seasoning to taste. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. (It can be made the day before.)

Serves 8-10