This post is dedicated to Sabrina...enjoy, my sweet friend!
I couldn't come up with a name for this new pasta salad creation of mine. It seems to have many of the flavors of Italy in it, so I decided to name it Tuscan Pasta Salad. I think I'll submit the recipe to Giada de Laurentiis, and see if she likes it. Hey, maybe if I eat it, I will look like her...who knows? Well, I seriously doubt that.
This is the easiest pasta salad on earth to make. I basically just took all my favorite canned/jarred ingredients from Trader Joe's and put them into a salad with pasta. I figured, how could I go wrong? I was really happy with the results.
I will warn you - this isn't cheap (about $20), but it's insanely delicious, and it does make a lot. I used 1 lb. Gemelli pasta, but you could use Rotini if you can't find the Gemelli (I got it at Albertson's) or any shape you want. Just don't use penne. Penne has no place in pasta salad, in my humble opinion (it's too dry).
All you do is cook up the pasta as directed, drain and cool, then toss in the following. I got all of these ingredients at TJ's:
-1 can artichoke hearts (not the marinated ones in oil), quartered
-1 jar Kalamata olives, halved
-1 jar roasted yellow & red bell peppers, diced
-1 log marinated fresh mozzarella cheese, diced (you could also use crumbled feta)
-1 jar julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drain & reserve the oil for dressing)
-fresh chopped basil (a good handful)
Now, take that reserved sun-dried tomato oil and drizzle on as much as desired. Toss until the salad is well moistened. I added a little dried oregano, salt, pepper, and a little splash of balsamic vinegar as well. Taste, and add more oil and seasonings if you need to. Chill for a few hours. After the salad is chilled, you may find that the pasta absorbed some of the oil, so add a little more before serving. Garnish with more fresh basil if you want to look Martha Stewart-y. Or Giada de Laurentiis-y. This salad is yumm-y. OK, I'm done now.