Vegetable Pasta Salad

As the weather starts to get nicer, it’s hard to stay in the kitchen cooking, which is why we sometimes make a few cold dishes which can last for a few days, and don’t need heating to eat.  This one is an old favorite, and is a variation on an old Mollie Katzen recipe (it has varied quite a bit over the years).   The key flavor which ties it all together is the fresh basil.  It can serve a lot of people;  goes well at potlucks, or is easily refrigerated for eating over several days (though it may go quickly; it’s hard not to go for more)  Here is our version.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound medium pasta shells
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • a handful of chives, diced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), diced
  • 1 medium-large cucumber, peeled, and diced.
  • pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons capers (to taste)
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 can artichoke hearts chopped
  • 1 can black olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella chunks
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Boil the pasta until it is al dente (not too soft with some resistance to the teeth), then drain it and put into large salad bowl.  Add the garlic, onion, oil, vinegar, and grated Romano (or Parmesan), and some salt and pepper.   Stir thoroughly and allow to cool.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir.   Season as you like.  Serve.

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