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In-Season Recipe Connection: Tomato Basil Pasta Salad

Tomato Basil Pasta Salad

Need a potluck or party dish to pass for Labor Day weekend? I got you covered. This recipe is so simple, and so in season, you might be growing the ingredients right in your garden, maybe even incorporated into your landscape gardening (link no longer available), like mine.

I’m generally a little relaxed on the portions, so sometimes I wonder if it comes out the same every time. When I made it last week for dinner and to take camping, I asked my husband, “Is it okay?”

He said, “It’s awesome. This dish is always awesome.”

I’ll take that one at face value.


With garden fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and melted cheese, the flavors in this versatile side dish will tickle you in their simplicity and balanced perfection. If you’re an adventurous cook at all, by the second time you make it, you’ll need neither measuring utensils nor a recipe.

RELATED: Gluten-Free Sunflower Pasta Salad

Recipe: Tomato-Basil Pasta Salad

Method:

Put the water on to boil for the pasta while you warm the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet (I like cast iron). Chop the tomatoes and add to the warm oil, reserving about 1/4 to put on the top fresh. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. I like freshly ground pepper myself.

sauteeing tomatoes in oil


Mince/crush the garlic and set aside for at least five minutes to allow the allicin to develop for maximum nutrition. (Allicin is an antibacterial agent, best consumed raw, but still has health benefits cooked.) While your pasta is cooking and tomatoes are warming, wash, slice or chop fresh basil until you have at least 1/4 cup. More never hurt!

tomato basil pasta salad (3)


Your goal is to add the garlic and basil more or less at the end of the cooking so they just get an impression of warmth, but not more than a minute on the heat. I usually add both just as the timer beeps for the pasta, then drain the pasta and return to the pot. Give the tomato/oil/garlic/basic a good stir and turn off the heat.

Mix the pasta with the tomato mixture, either in one pot or the other or in a large serving bowl. Add shredded cheese immediately and stir well so that it melts. I usually use mozzarella, but I tried Fol Epi when I had a sample from Ile de France Cheese. Excellent. It wasn’t even shredded, just in small cubes.

Top with fresh tomatoes and additional fresh basil for presentation and added flavor. Parmesan cheese is optional but delicious. Sometimes an extra generous drizzle of olive oil makes it just right.

This dish is fantastic served hot for dinner, cold on a picnic, or any which way in between. It survives being transported in a plastic bag in a cooler but looks fancy when topped with fresh tomatoes and basil. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days but is definitely the best the first or second day. (It’s not in the Family Camping Handbook but will likely make an appearance in the second edition.)

RELATED: Dairy-free and Gluten-free Recipe for Lasagna

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Tomato Basil Pasta Salad

  • Author: Katie Kimball

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4+ c. extra virgin olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)
  • 2 large or 4 small tomatoes (Romas are great, but any tomato works) salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase) and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb. fettuccine, cooked to package directions
  • 1/4+ c. fresh basil, sliced thinly
  • 12 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 12 c. shredded mozzarella (or any white cheese)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


ship kroger


Instructions

  1. Put the water on to boil for the pasta while you warm the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet (I like cast iron). Chop the tomatoes and add to the warm oil, reserving about 1/4 to put on the top fresh. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. I like freshly ground pepper myself.
  2. Mince/crush the garlic and set aside for at least five minutes to allow the allicin to develop for maximum nutrition. (Allicin is an antibacterial agent, best consumed raw, but still has health benefits cooked.) While your pasta is cooking and tomatoes are warming, wash, slice or chop fresh basil until you have at least 1/4 cup. More never hurt! Your goal is to add the garlic and basil more or less at the end of the cooking so they just get an impression of warmth, but not more than a minute on the heat. I usually add both just as the timer beeps for the pasta, then drain the pasta and return to the pot. Give the tomato/oil/garlic/basic a good stir and turn off the heat.
  3. Mix the pasta with the tomato mixture, either in one pot or the other or in a large serving bowl. Add shredded cheese immediately and stir well so that it melts. I usually use mozzarella, but I tried Fol Epi when I had a sample from Ile de France Cheese. Excellent. It wasn’t even shredded, just in small cubes.
  4. Top with fresh tomatoes and additional fresh basil for presentation and added flavor. Parmesan cheese is optional but delicious. Sometimes an extra generous drizzle of olive oil makes it just right.

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tomato basil pasta salad summer party recipe

A note on pasta: You may be wondering why Katie is using white pasta, seemingly Meijer brand, which I know you can tell by looking at the picture. Well. I’m all about balance here at Kitchen Stewardship®, so although I generally soak grains and make homemade, pasta is one item I have yet to tackle. I’m learning a lot of new sourdough recipes through the GNOWFGLINS sourdough eCourse and someday will tackle pasta, maybe with Nourished Kitchen’s sourdough noodles recipe. For now, I’m okay with using store pasta, either white or whole wheat. Neither are perfect, but then again, neither am I.

Got meat? If you’re thinking of compromising and grabbing some quick frozen burgers for a big party, you might want to think again. Check my Facebook Fan Page for my frightening revelation as I packed up some pre-packaged burgs (and a disgusting amount of nitrate-laden meats and white bread products) for my husband’s dozen-man annual camping trip. I do all the food shopping, so at least they have some fruits and veggies, too…but I think I’m feeding him nothing but salads with homemade dressings and pastured eggs next week!

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

17 thoughts on “In-Season Recipe Connection: Tomato Basil Pasta Salad”

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  5. Just made this Yummy meal yesterday for our Labor Day Family picnic! It was good cold but the kids said it was better hot. My husband liked it cold. Sausage would be good with it too!
    Great Lent meal too!
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Esther Kingfisher

    I’m making this tonight. Thanks for the great idea!
    .-= Esther Kingfisher´s last blog ..Lemon Date Scones =-.

  7. Made this for dinner tonight. Cooked the tomatoes (I used halved cherry tomatoes), but next time, I don’t think I will–my 4 yr old didn’t care for the cooked tomatoes, but he loves them raw. Good thing he got most of the raw garnish.

  8. I make something similar to this for lunch almost everyday when the tomatoes are in abundance! The only difference is I don’t bother to cook the tomatoes – I just chop them up, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, pour the hot pasta over top and then sprinkle on some parmesan and basil – perfect, quick light lunch – I think I’m going to go make some right now in fact!
    .-= Pam Howard´s last blog ..Mystery shopping =-.

  9. Oh my goodness, you are not going to believe this, but I posted a similar recipe today! 🙂 I guess people love good no matter what!
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..assuntine pasta with tomatoes- basil and mozzarella perline =-.

  10. What your husband said was so sweet. I bet it melted your heart. If I make something extra delish, he’ll say something like, “see, this is why we never go out to eat. Your cooking is better anyway”. That always makes me so happy.

    This looks excellent and simple. I’ll be giving it a try.

  11. Wonderful recipe! I love being able to prepare simple yet delicious meals primarily from our garden.

  12. Looks good! Have you tried the Ezekial 4:9 sprouted pasta? I bought a bunch when it was on sale a few months ago. But recently I’ve been losing my taste for grains, except for the random slice of sprouted bread with lots of butter. That tomato-basil thing, though…yummy.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Chocolate Milk Mix =-.

  13. Have you every tried it without the cheese?? I wonder if it would still be a tasty dish to pass for those of us who are dairy free….
    .-= Vanessa´s last blog ..Peachy Keen- Stamp Challenge 33 =-.

    1. Vanessa,
      It’s so funny you say that, because my penchant for not using the recipe DID cause me to make it entirely without cheese once. It was still good, but not incredible. However, that may have been before I added the fresh garlic, so I’m thinking you could have a pretty good winner with enough excellent tasting EVOO, garlic, and basil. Enjoy! 🙂 Katie

  14. My husband and I make something very similar to this. Instead of cooking the tomatoes, you just combine them with the olive oil, basil, garlic and some bell pepper and let the whole mixture sit out on the counter for an hour or more to “marinate.” After you cook the pasta (we use shells), you top with the tomato mixture and add lots of mozzarella and a bit of parmesan. It’s soooo good! Its formal name (my husband used to make it with his mom) is “hot pasta with cold sauce,” but last year we decided that was too cumbersome so we now just call it “awesome.” Extra funny in light of your husband’s comment! =)

    1. Megan,
      As I was typing this post, I was wondering how it would be without any cooking at all (except for the noodles, of course). Good to know! 🙂 Katie

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