Need an easy, light dish to serve or take with you to celebrate this Memorial Day?
This pasta salad is a great summer salad and one can be very creative with the ingredients. If you do not like one of the ingredients, select a favorite. The most important thing about this salad is the dressing.
To simplify the dish, use roasted chicken from the grocery store—then de-bone and skin. For this dish you need oven-roasted tomatoes (to roast, cut cherry tomatoes in half, salt them lightly and roast 3-4 hours at 200 degrees)
1 tablespoon chopped thyme (I grow my own thyme in the garden….easy to grow and looks beautiful as a ground-cover
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Put all of the above ingredients in a small mini chopper to blend and set aside.
9 ounces dried pasta, such as fusilli, rotelle or penne
1/2 cups cooked black beans (I use canned black beans and rinse and drain)
1/2 red and green pepper, chopped or cut in small strips
3 small baby carrots, chopped
1 cup oven dried cherry tomatoes (could be red or yellow or a combination)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (I sometimes use feta cheese—a little saltier combination; whichever one prefers)
1/2-1 roasted chicken, diced (if you don’t like dark meat, just use the breast)
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water (add a little chopped garlic and olive oil to the salted water) until al dente. It is nice to have a glass of wine off to the side for the cook to enjoy!
Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons olive oil and toss well. Set aside to cool.
When the pasta is cool, add the black beans, vegetables, mozzarella, chicken, and dried tomatoes. Toss with the reserved vinaigrette (add the vinaigrette sparingly and put the left over in the refrigerator to use if someone needs extra dressing) and season to taste. Cover the salad and refrigerate to chill. Serve the salad on a bed of greens with fresh basil. Enjoy.