As it turns out, not a whole lot is actually cooking in this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday, but what I’m offering is still delicious.
Yesterday I was molto fortunata to have some special guests in my medieval village when a lovely American couple, Rich and Melissa, came to visit. And Cherrye and Peppe came from Catanzaro too! It was a bit of an invasion of Americans — the likes of which, we joked, haven’t been seen round these parts since World War II.
I had planned a small walking tour through the village, which if you aren’t aware, is extremely hilly. I live at the top, so going anywhere requires walking down–not bad at all. And then we must return, which can be a challenge. And the sun was beating down on us to boot.
Having experienced such a walk many times, I knew that we’d be looking for a refreshing, light lunch upon our return, so I decided on a pasta salad and a plate of meats, cheeses, pickled eggplant, home-jarred peperoncini in oil, fresh bread, and, of course, P’s father’s wine.
Refreshing Summer Pasta Salad
- 1 box (500 g) pasta (farfalle and fusilli are my favorites for this)
- 5 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 3 cucumbers, sliced
- 2 green/red/yellow peppers (your choice), sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- olive oil, salt, oregano and/or fresh, torn basil leaves to taste
1. Boil pasta in salted water, drain, and set aside. Mix in some olive oil so the pasta doesn’t stick together, and be sure it’s cooled off before you start adding the vegetables. If I’m in a bit of a rush, I add ice cubes and put it in the fridge for a bit.
2. Cut up all the vegetables that you’ll be adding in the sizes you wish and put them all in a big mixing bowl that will hold all the pasta salad. Add some olive oil, salt, and oregano/basil to let the flavors start to mingle.
3. Add the pasta to the veggies, and then toss with more olive oil, oregano/basil, and salt to taste. Be generous with the oil because you don’t want it to be dry. Also, it’s better if you prepare this at least an hour or two before you’ll serve it to give the flavors time to mingle; be sure to taste test again for any missing condiments before you serve.
So as you can see, today’s recipe for pasta salad is extremely easy and versatile; you can put in whatever you like including different vegetables, meats and cheeses, basil or other seasonings. What I’ve offered here is my staple, and the way I almost always make it.
Another note: if you’re going to have it leftover, I don’t recommend putting meat and cheese in the whole thing (especially mozzarella!) because they can get kind of funny sitting in there for my taste, but perhaps that’s just me. I like to add such things at the table to individual proportions — also better if someone doesn’t like one thing or another in the salad. Grated cheese on the top works well, though, so you can add that the whole thing if you like.
And please, please, please resist the temptation to use Italian dressing, which is how I always had this in America. All you need is some good olive oil, oregano/basil, and salt, and you’re good to go. And I promise it’s even tastier.