Two of my favorite categories of summer foods include pasta salads and caprese anything. I love cold pasta coated in tangy dressing tossed together with a fun variety of mix-ins – so cool and refreshing on a summer day! And well, I don’t even feel the need to explain my love for caprese salads/sandwiches/pizzas/etc. I mean, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love the combination of fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes?
Even though I love this classic combination, I just can’t do fresh tomatoes. I want to, but I just can’t (previously discussed here). What I can do is consume copious amounts of roasted tomatoes and burst cherry tomatoes. Let me just tell you, the burst cherry tomatoes in this pasta salad totally make the dish. I could eat this pasta salad for days!
Aside from the tasty burst cherry tomatoes, this pasta salad is also crazy delicious thanks to the addition of fresh mozzarella and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. Be still, my heart. Go crazy and buy the good cheese for this recipe. You will definitely be able to taste the difference in this dish.
If you’re looking for a pasta salad idea for your Memorial Day festivities, or any summer event, look no further! This recipe comes together in no time and will blow your mind. Seriously.
Happy holiday weekend!
- 6 ounces pasta (I used Italian campanelle)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 10.5 ounces cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- Freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano for topping
- Olive oil with cherry tomato drippings from skillet used to burst tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until pasta is al dente. Once pasta is cooked, drain pasta using a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- While preparing pasta, warm a skillet containing olive oil over medium heat. Once warm, add cherry tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to skillet. Cook tomatoes until they burst, shaking the skillet and carefully turning the tomatoes often. Once the tomatoes have burst, remove them to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Allow tomatoes to cool. Transfer oil and tomato juices/leftover tomato pieces from the skillet to a small bowl or mason jar to cool (this oil mixture will be used to make a dressing for the pasta salad later).
- After leftover oil mixture from the skillet has cooled, add red wine vinegar, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk if combining ingredients in a bowl or cover jar with lid and shake to combine if using a mason jar. Taste and adjust salt and pepper levels as desired.
- Combine pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella to a medium-sized bowl (preferably a glass bowl with a lid). Pour in dressing and gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld for a few hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add chopped basil prior to serving. Top with freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.