Who doesn’t love a fresh tasting summer pasta salad? Especially when it is as simple as this one. That’s the beauty of using high quality ingredients. You can create an over-the-moon tasty dish with just a few ingredients. Okay, this one has more than a handful of ingredients, but I think we can just overlook that, right? Even though it’s more than just a few, they are all simple healthy ingredients that add loads of flavor.
First there’s little heirloom tomatoes in a vibrant array of colors, each a work of art with their own sweet, juicy taste. Then there’s lots of sweet red onion, summer basil and peppery arugula, all tossed together with the deep Mediterranean flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and crisped up, salty prosciutto — and let’s not forget those cute little balls of boccochini. This summer pasta salad can easily be transformed into a healthy vegetarian one by skipping the prosciutto or take one step further and skip the cheese for a tasty vegan version.
A summer pasta salad that even teens will love!
And if you have a teenager living with you like we do, then you can even make a version that even trumps pizza Margherita or spaghetti with meat sauce. Leander’s perfect version of a summer pasta salad looks like this:
Prosciutto (more of it! Let’s say, double the amount)
Red Onion (perfect)
Arugula (more of it)
Basil (didn’t notice it)
Parmesan (always a good choice)
Balsamic/Oil (really? Would have balked at it had I known. Okay, loved it)
Happy to eat it any time. Score. :)
This summer pasta salad is a great recipe for taking to barbecues or potlucks, and makes for an easy lunch or dinner. Enjoy!
Easy Summer Pasta Salad
Total time: 20 minutes
500 g whole wheat or spelt uncooked short pasta, such as penne, fusilli, or farfalle (I used spelt volanti)
250 g mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, finely diced
6 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained and chopped
100 g Parmi di Prosciutto (optional), coarsely chopped
150 g mini mozzarella balls, drained (I used Mozzarella di latte di Bufala Mini)
2 handfuls baby arugula leaves
1 generous handful basil leaves
2 tablespoons capers (in brine), drained
2-3 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
freshly grated parmesan, as garnish
1. Fill a large pot with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and add pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook according to packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
2. Meanwhile, sauté the prosciutto in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to crisp at edges, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. In a large salad bowl, add the cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula, basil and capers. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
4. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and serve. Enjoy!