Salad days are here again, so why not take your taste buds on a picnic to the picturesque countryside of Tuscany with this delicious Italian pasta salad? Combine the goodness of pasta with some juicy olives, cheese, roasted sweet red and green peppers, as well as the herby, garlicky taste of pesto for some salad magic.
Use pasta with a good solid texture and shape to absorb the delicious pesto sauce. Rotini (or pasta screws) works – and tastes – like a charm, although penne will also do the trick.
This pasta recipe is very flexible. Why not mix in any of the following for some variety?
- Good, spicy salami;
- Cherry tomatoes;
- Cucumber or
- Mozzarella cheese.
- Let your salad “sit” before you serve it. This gives the dressing a chance to really permeate your veggies and pasta, resulting in a more flavourful and delicious Italian pasta salad!
- It’s best not to make your Italian pasta salad the day before, because pasta salad tends to dry out if it is kept in the fridge for a long time. When you are ready to serve, or are eating leftovers, give the salad a good stir and add a tablespoon or two of the pesto sauce to moisten it again.
- 2 sachets Black Kalamata Olives pitted and halved
- 2 wheels feta cheese of choice crumbled
- 125 gram pesto sauce
- 1 green pepper deseeded and sliced in strips
- 2 red sweet peppers deseeded and sliced in strips. If they are long, halve them
- A bunch of grass onions sliced
- 1 onion sliced in thinly
- 4 cloves Garlic chopped
- 4 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- Pasta of your choice
- 1 tsp Cumin grounded (if it is whole cumin, grind it until fine with a pestle. Just to get the flavour going)
- Cook your pasta as per instructions on the packet.
- Rinse and mix through the cumin.
- Set aside.
- Place all the sliced and chopped vegetables in an oven-proof tray.
- Cover with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and make sure all is covered well.
- Place under the grill for 6 to 7 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the vegetables to ensure it is not burning.
- After 6 minutes, take out, add 2 tablespoons of pesto and mix through.
- Place back in the oven and grill for another 10 min, keep mixing this while under the grill.
- When peppers are roasted, take out and mix through the pasta along with the rest of the pesto.
- Crumb the feta cheese into the pasta and mix well.