The savory recipes I've been making lately all seem to have something in common: they're all highly customizable. I love having an arsenal of basic recipes like this quiche that I can change up based on which veggies look good at the farmers market or what I'm craving that day. It's a time-saving way to cook and goodness knows I need that these days!
This Parmesan Pasta Salad is one of those easily adaptable recipes. I used asparagus and zucchini, but you can use peppers, carrots, broccoli, or whatever suits your fancy. It's also one of those dishes that make me throw all self-control out the window, madly snarfing forkfuls when no one is looking because it's so tasty. This dish travels well and is a crowd pleaser. It would be a great addition to a summer picnic or BBQ.
Parmesan Pasta Salad
Adapted from The California Cook by Diane Worthington
Makes 8-10 servings
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. dried pasta shapes
4 cups chopped veggies of your choice
1 lb. fresh whole milk mozzarella, cubed
1/4 c. grainy dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan
1 tbsp. sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil
1. Add 1 tbsp of the oil and the salt to a large pot of boiling water. Add the pasta and cook over high heat for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water mixed with the remaining tbsp of oil until cool. Drain thoroughly.
2. Immerse the vegetables in a large pan of boiling water and boil until barely tender. Drain and pour cold water over the vegetables to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly.
3. Combine the mustard, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended. Add 1/4 cup of the parmesan and the sour cream or yogurt and continue whisking until well blended. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
4. In a large serving bowl, combine the drained pasta, vegetables, and mozzarella with the dressing. Add the basil and remaining parmesan. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
This recipe can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead of time and refrigerated. Don't add the basil until right before serving. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.