Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cyn's Summer Pasta Salad

It's been hot in Northern Virginia this Spring and early Summer. So far in July we've had 6 days over 100F (38C) and the prediction is that we will end this month as the hottest ever on record for the Washington DC area. This past Monday was no exception, very hot, humid and sticky. When it's that uncomfortable, the thought of eating something hot just isn't that appealing. So I was pleasantly surprised when Cynthia told me we were having a cold pasta salad for our Meatless Monday dinner. Here is her recipe for this delicious and refreshing dish.

Ingredients (the dressing)
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic (can substitute white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar)
  • heaping tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup oil, I like EVOO
 Ingredients (the salad)
  • about 1 cup corn, cut from two ears or cheat and use a can of corn, we grilled our corn before use here
  •  1 1/2 pounds zucchini, julienne, placed in colander and tossed with 2 tsp kosher salt.  Let sit an hour, squeeze excess moisture out and pat dry. Do not skip the salting, your zucchini will create a water bath in the salad and the salad will be highly under seasoned. 
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn or shredded, your preference
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed or purchase bocconcini or ciliegine (small fresh mozzarella balls and smaller fresh mozzarella balls, respectively)
  • optional, used here: oil cured black olives and fresh chives
  • 1/2 pound of pasta, one with curls and/or ridges to catch and hold the dressing, Campanelle from Barilla was used in this recipe.  (I find Barilla brand pastas tend to hold their shape very well in a cold pasta preparations.)
  •  Cook your pasta a minute or two less than package instructions, or until it's just tender.  Dump into a colander and pass under cold running water just until it's cool enough not to melt your mozzarella, but still warm.
  • Whisk all dressing ingredients together and throw in the mozzarella and tomatoes to marinate while you deal with the zucchini and pasta. 
  • Once pasta and zucchini are ready, mix everything together and serve.  
If you want, you can make this a couple of days ahead, but let it sit out for half an hour or so and wait until just before service before adding the basil.  This recipe doubles well, and makes a fantastic base for grilled shrimp that has been marinated in garlic and lemon on those non-meatless days of the week. Served wit
  h a nice roll or even better yet, garlic bread, this makes a perfect hot summer night meal.


  1. This looks so good. I love pastas when they're mixed with fresh vegetables.

  2. I've never used zucchini julienned in a salad like this before but the it does out very light and refreshing...


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