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three white bowls with pasta salad on a gray napkin.
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Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Your search for the perfect pasta salad has ended. Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa.
Course Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta cavatappi, rotini or fusilli - tortellini*
  • 2 lbs ripe tomatoes medium-diced
  • 2 lbs fresh mozzarella diced
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained and chopped
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups basil leaves chopped or one large container

Dressing Ingredients

  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained
  • 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 12 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. capers drained
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt can start with 2 tsp and go up from there
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • ¾ cup good black olives OPTIONAL - drained, pitted and diced

Instructions

For the salad

  • Bring a large stockpot to boil. Add a healthy amount of kosher salt right before adding the pasta. If using tortellini, either cook in a separate pan or add a few minutes later so that all the pasta ends up cooking at the same time.
  • Boil according to the package directions, checking it around 2 minutes before it's expected to be done.
  • Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside till cool.
  • Once the pasta is cool, add half of it to a large wide serving bowl along with half of the chopped tomatoes and cheese. Toss lightly and then add the remaining pasta, tomatoes and cheese.

For the dressing

  • Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender and process until smooth and incorporated.

Assemble the salad

  • Toss the salad with ¾ of the dressing, setting aside the remaining dressing if you're not serving it immediately.
  • Add the Parmesan and basil and toss lightly. Garnish with more Parm and basil.

Notes

  • If using tortellini, double the quantity. Cook according to package directions in boiling, salted water.
  • Feel free to experiment with pastas that are made from alternative grains, veggies or are plant-based.