20-Minute Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Hey Y’all!  Happy Memorial Day Eve.  This is such a special holiday.  It’s a time to spend with family and friends eating BBQ and all the fixings, spending time outside whether at the beach or a picnic and relaxing because it’s always on the last Monday in May and you get the day off work!  But way more important than all of that, it’s a day we come together as a nation to remember what freedom means and to remember those who have fought so bravely on our behalf to protect the rights we have as Americans.  I’ve attached a link to a really great Newsweek article that explains why we celebrate Memorial Day.  President Trump is quoted as saying that “Memorial Day is our nation’s solemn reminder that freedom is never free. It is a moment of collective reflection on the noble sacrifices of those who gave the last measure of devotion in service of our ideals and in the defense of our nation,” he writes. “On this ceremonious day, we remember the fallen, we pray for a lasting peace among nations, and we honor these guardians of our inalienable rights.”  So cheers to all of the brave men and women who have fought for our country to keep me and my family safe.  This delicious dish is made special for you!

My husband and I are attending a pool party/picnic tomorrow with some friends and I asked him what he wanted to take.  He shouted, “PASTA SALAD!”  I smiled, told him that just because I turned 34 recently doesn’t mean I’m now deaf, and then happily obliged his request.

Pasta Salad 2

This week’s recipe is brought to you by Ashley of Baker by Nature.

20-Minute Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Ingredients

For the Basil Dressing:

  • 4 ounces fresh basil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional, but it adds a nice sweetness)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes OR freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)

For the Pasta Salad:

  • 1 pound farfalle pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • (1) 12 ounce container marinated mozzarella balls, removed from oil
  • 4 ounces fresh basil, thinly sliced

Instructions

For the Basil Dressing:

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar (if using), salt, and pepper. Pulse on high for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, or until smooth. There should be no large chunks of anything! If there is, continue blending. Set aside until needed.

For the Pasta Salad:

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat; bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes.

While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, prepare the vegetables. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half; thinly slice the basil and thinly slice the red onion; set aside until needed. Remove the mozzarella balls from the oil and set aside.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it at once and quickly rinse it under cold water until cool, about 1 minute. Place cooled pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add dressing to pasta, then add the tomatoes, basil, onion, and mozzarella balls. Toss to combine. Serve at once, or chill until needed.

Pasta Salad 3

It’s perfect for summer, but honestly, I’d eat it anytime.  It’d be great as a side dish with any protein, whether chicken, fish or steak.  My husband and I wanted to devour this because it is so tasty (but also because we didn’t eat breakfast) but we couldn’t be little piggies and eat all of it.  Have fun celebrating tomorrow and remember to thank each and every Veteran you know!

Cheers!-Ashlee

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