Picnic and cookout season is here. So I thought I’d share with you a recipe that’s sure to be popular at casual outdoor parties. It’s simply traditional pasta salad … but a bit more special than your everyday recipe. It’s full of colorful veggies, lots of textures, and loads of flavor. By the way, leftovers taste great … if you have any!
(Disclosure: Jackie Newgent, RDN, is a spokesperson for Barilla America, Inc.)
- 16 Ounces dry whole grain pasta, such as Barilla Whole Grain Rotini
- 1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Cups fresh bite-size broccoli florets or chopped asparagus*
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 Cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 Cups grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese**
- 6 Ounces jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 large orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 smal red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), thinly sliced, rehydrated (if need)
- 1/3 Cup hot banana pepper rings or thinly sliced pepperoncini, drained
- 1/2 Cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 2 Teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano, or to taste
- 1 1/4 Teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 3/4 Teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, about 9 minutes. (Alternatively, “lid cook” pasta! Here’s how: Stir the pasta into the boiling water; cover; remove from heat; and let cook covered without heat for 9 minutes. That’s it!) Drain the pasta (do not rinse) and, while hot, toss with 1/4 cup of the oil, the broccoli, and garlic in a large bowl. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Then chill in the refrigerator.
2. Add the vinegar to the cool pasta and toss to coat. Add the cheese and toss to coat. Add the artichoke hearts, bell pepper, grape tomatoes, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, hot pepper, basil, oregano, salt, and black pepper and toss to combine. If not serving immediately, chill covered in the refrigerator. (Hint: It’s okay to chill overnight.)
3. When ready to serve, toss with the remaining 1/4 cup oil, adjust seasoning, and serve at room temperature.
*If using asparagus, add the asparagus tips to the pasta about 2 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking.
**Cheese can be served on the side, if desired.