Pasta salad primavera with herbed tomato sauce
This is one of my summer favorites. It travels well, is safe for serving at picnics, and it's just great to have a big bowl of this salad in the refrigerator ready for weekend guests and for family lunches.
8 ounces rotini or rotelle (corkscrew pasta)
2 cups broccoli florets
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
To complete the recipe
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 scallions, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and sprigs of fresh basil for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes, or according to package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, put the broccoli into a small microwave-proof dish; add about ¼ cup water. Cover and microwave on high for about 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. (see Tip)
To make the sauce, stir together the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
When the pasta is done, drain, rinse under cold water, then drain again.
Toss together the pasta, broccoli, peas, bell pepper, tomatoes, and scallions in a large bowl. Add the sauce and toss again.
This salad will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Because the dressing tends to become absorbed into the pasta, refrigerate the sauce separately; add just before serving.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.