Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Pasta salad used to be a go-to dish for me when asked to bring something to a party. In fact, it still is. But I've gotten a lot more creative over the years with what I put in it. This one is sort of a medley of many of my favorite pasta salad accoutrements, and they all join together in a beautiful Mediterranean theme.

Serve room temperature or cold - either way it's delightful and low maintenance. Orzo is a great pasta choice for this dish, but I didn't have any on hand (don't get me started on the Great Orzo Shortage of 2008, which has apparently continued into 2009) so I went with trusty old rotini. Any short-cut pasta will work.

So go ahead, whip it up and take it to a pot luck, or just have it for dinner at home. That's what we're going to do tonight.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
serves 2


1/2 cup short-cut pasta (preferably whole wheat), only 1/4 cup if using orzo
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup diced cucumber
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup loosely-packed parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup loosely-packed basil leaves, chopped
fresh ground pepper
handful of good quality olives


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and salt it. Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, combine EVOO, red wine vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl. When the pasta is done, drain it and toss it in that very same bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, pepper to taste, and top it with the olives. Serve as is, or cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

It's as easy as pie. And a lot healthier. Enjoy!

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