Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Greek Pasta Salad with a Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

I love a nice chilled pasta salad for a summer lunch and they are obviously the perfect side dish for any picnic or BBQ.  But I am not always all that crazy about those that are doused in mayo.  Talk about wasted calories! I would much rather have an extra glass of sangria then mayo-laden pasta salad.  This is a lovely alternative. Totally guilt free and absolutely bursting with flavor.  I used my sister's Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing and it went perfect with the feta and olives.  So yummy!  And actually I felt that the salad tasted even better the next day after all of the flavors got to hang out with each other a bit.  If I was making this for a party, I would definitely put it together the night before.

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Greek Pasta Salad with a Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette 

For the vinaigrette:
Roasted Tomato Dressing
Container of cherry or grape tomatoes
Small red onion (I used 3 chopped green onions, since that is what I had on hand.  Any onion would work really)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 1/2-2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & freshly ground black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Empty and entire container of tomatoes on a baking pan. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast in the oven until they start to split, about 15 min. While roasting, mince a small red onion & put in large bowl. Take roasted tomatoes and juice from the pan and put in bowl with the onions. Mash the tomatoes with potato masher or fork. Stir in dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. In a slow steady stream, stir in olive oil while stirring with a whisk or a fork.  Stir until well blended, add salt & pepper to taste.

For the pasta salad:
1/2 box cavatappi pasta, cooked according to directions on box (or another ridged pasta; penne, fusilli or gremili would be nice)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 english cucumber, sliced into rings and then cut into fourths
1 can black olives, sliced into rings
1 block feta, crumbled
a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

Cook pasta to al-dente, according to directions printed on the box.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside to allow to cool down.  This is a good time to make up your vinaigrette.  Once your vinaigrette is made, combine all ingredients for the salad in a large bowl.  Pour dressing on top and mix well.  Chill for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to combine.

I have a hard time waiting to eat this yumminess, but I have to admit it tastes best chilled.

You could definitely add cooked chicken or shrimp to make this more of main course.  It would be delicious!

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