Summer Garden Pasta Salad with Olives and Feta
serves 12 to 14
We like the size of farfalle (bow-tie) pasta here, however, you can substitute any small pasta, such as rotini or penne. If using a different pasta shape, note that the yield may change significantly. Cooking the pasta until it is completely tender is crucial here--undercooked pasta becomes tough as it sits in the salad overnight.
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons juice from 2 lemons
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound farfalle pasta
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated over the large holes of a box grater
1 large yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
8 ounces feta, crumbled (about 2 cups)
1 cup pitted kalamata olives (about 6 ounces), chopped coarse
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces), quartered
1. For the dressing: Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl, set aside.
2. For the salad: Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in 2 tablespoons of salt and pasta and cook until completely tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta in a colander. Transfer the hot pasta to a large bowl.
3. Stir the reserved pasta water into the dressing. Pour half the dressing over the pasta and toss to coat. Stir in the carrots, bell pepper, feta, olives and parsley. Scatter the tomatoes on top of the pasta (do not mix in).
4. TO STORE: Cover the pasta salad tightly with plastic wrap and poke several vent holes in the plastic. Transfer the remaining dressing to an airtight container. Refrigerate the pasta salad and reserved dressing separately for up to 2 days.
5. TO SERVE: Bring the pasta salad to room temperature (or microwave on high power for 1 to 2 minutes to remove the chill). Shake the reserved dressing to combine, then pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Add the remaining dressing as needed to keep the salad moist.
TO SERVE RIGHT AWAY: Refrigerate the pasta salad as described in step 4 until just slightly chilled, about 1 hour, before tossing with the reserved dressing.
Follow the recipe for Summer Garden Pasta Salad with Olives and Feta, omitting the feta, olives and parsley. Add 3 ounces Asiago cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups), and 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed, to the pasta with the carrots in step 3. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves just before serving.