FoodThis Caprese Pasta Salad Will Win at Potlucks This Summer
The 10 Best Pasta Salad Recipes You Need This Summer
Happy Memorial Day weekend! Next to all the BBQ ribs, burgers, and hot dogs you're likely to be grilling, it helps to round things out with a solid, satisfying side dish—enter crowd-favorite pasta salad. Read on for our best pasta salad recipes, plus an easy formula for mixing one up yourself. Let’s be honest—we never stopped eating pasta. It plays well with creamy, comforting flavors in colder months, then graciously welcomes warmer temperatures with bright, fresh zest. But while pasta is seasonless, the pasta salad screams summer.
Caprese salads () are ubiquitous in the summertime. Fresh tomatoes, leafy basil and creamy mozzarella are a flavor-match made in heaven. However, when you're looking to feed a crowd, sometimes those fiddly slices can be hard to serve. Instead, incorporate all those classic Caprese flavors into a potluck-worthy pasta salad.
And the secret to the world's best mozzarella, tomato and basil pasta salad? Fresh ingredients. But you don't have to have a garden in your back yard to make it. We recommend foraging for fresh produce at a local farmers markets,or at your closest specialty market. Keep these tips in mind:
Imperfect Pasta is the Secret to Perfect Pasta Salad
Like other entries in the “carbs coated in mayo” category of side dishes, pasta salad is incredibly polarizing. When it’s good, I can’t stop eating it; when it’s bad, it’s inedible. I’ve found that the secret to really good pasta salad isn’t homemade mayo or a good jar of pickles—it’s really bad pasta. Specifically, overcooked pasta. How to Make Your Own Duke's-Style Mayonnaise To me, the single defining feature of a bad batch of pasta salad is crunchy noodles, which happens because starches solidify in cold temperatures. (If you’ve ever eaten leftover spaghetti straight from the fridge, you know what I’m talking about.
Choose the Right Basil
All basil is not created equal. For this recipe, look for sweet basil or Italian large leaf basil. We prefer to chiffonade the basil leaves for this dish; however, feel free to rip the leaves by hand or chop roughly. (Check out this piece on, too.)
Make sure the leaves are strong and intact, as well as a vibrant green. If the leaves are turning purple or black, don't use them. They will damage the fresh, delicate flavor of the pasta salad.
Pick Ripe Tomatoes
We like the color, vibrancy and differing tastes of. For this recipe, we used a smaller size tomato in a wide array of colors. If you do the same, for the best presentation, cut vertically from stem to bottom.
Editor's Tip:For the best-tasting fruit, leave them out at room temperature.
The Pasta Salad That Won’t Get Weird at the Picnic
It’s packed with jammy, sweet bell peppers and topped with ricotta salata and hazelnuts.
Select a Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh is best. From burrata to ovolini, fresh mozzarella is one of life's great indulgences. For this recipe, we used perline mozzarella—a small pearl-like shape. If you prefer a creamier mozzarella, tomato and basil pasta salad, consider using stracciatella or placing a slice of burrata on top of the salad for the final presentation. Believe us—.
How to Make a Mozzarella Tomato Basil Pasta Salad
For the salad:
- 1 package (16 ounces) rigatoni or other short pasta (like rotini, farfalle, penne, etc.)
- 1 quart small tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 16 ounces perline mozzarella, drained. Or if you're looking to impress, . ($30)
For the dressing:
- 2 cups tomatoes, blended
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup good quality olive oil (Check out these tips for .)
- 1-1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Juice of one large lemon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Red pepper flakes, optional
Step 1: Cook your pasta
Cook pasta in generously salted water until al dente, according to package directions. It's, after all.
The 5-Ingredient Pasta Salad We're Inviting to Every Summer BBQ
A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. Psst—we don't count water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (specifically, 1/2 cup or less of olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, we’re making a side dish that’s good enough to eat for dinner. I love mayonnaise and I love pasta, but I don’t love mayonnaise-y pasta salad. Probably for the same reason that I don’t love mayonnaise-y potato salad: These side dishes often appear at warm-weather, crowded-backyard, sticky-sweaty occasions, where I’d always prefer something a little brighter and lighter.
Drain and toss the pasta in a small amount of olive oil, so the noodles don't stick together. Let the pasta cool at room temperature while you prep the rest of the recipe. The cool pasta will prevent the cheese from melting later on.
Step 2: Start the dressing
In the meantime, use a blender to blend 2 cups of tomatoes until frothy. () Then blend on low and slowly add 1/4 cup of olive oil. The blended tomatoes showcase the delicate sweetness these summer fruits offer, as well as thicken the dressing, coating the pasta generously with flavor.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, white wine vinegar and lemon juice as well as salt and pepper, to taste.
Step 3: Toss the pasta
Toss the pasta in the tomato and oil blend. Stir in the oil and vinegar blend.
Gently fold in the fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, until just incorporated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper according to your preference.
Step 4: Plate the finished pasta salad
To serve, place the pasta salad in a large bowl and top with fresh tomatoes and large leaves of basil. Top with freshly cracked black pepper and a generous sprinkling of, for both flavor and a lovely crunch.
The most popular pasta salad of the summer has a surprising secret ingredient
It’s briny and bright!
Why We Love This Dish
Pasta salads are not always the most elegant of dish presentations. However, the color and uniform size of ingredients make this fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil salad an inviting summer treat. The al dente pasta, soft cheese and firm yet juicy tomatoes provide a lovely variation of textures that you and your guests will find pleasing as well. We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did!
Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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The Caprese Pasta Recipe Your Family Will Love.
There's nothing better than a simple bowl of pasta made with fresh, good-quality ingredients. This mozzarella tomato basil pasta (also known as Caprese pasta) warms your belly and makes it to the table in no time! The post The Mozzarella Tomato Basil Pasta Recipe Your Family Will Love appeared first on Taste of Home. Read More
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