PASTA SALAD PRIMAVERA WITH FRESH HERBS
AND PARMESAN CHEESE
4 to 6 servings
- 8 to 9 ounces linguine or fettuccine pasta
- About 3 quarts boiling water
- About ¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt to taste
- About 8 to 10 very small (grape or cherry-style) tomatoes
- 1 cup partially cooked fresh broccoli florets
- ½ to 1 cup coarsely snipped fresh basil leaves (no stems)
- ½ to ¾ cup coarsely chopped green or sweet red or yellow pepper, or a combination
- ½ cup thinly sliced small zucchini
- ½ cup thinly sliced small yellow squash
- ½ cup partially cooked fresh or thawed frozen very small (baby) peas
- ¼ cup minced parsley (no stems)
- Shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese as desired
- About ½ to 2/3 cup pitted black/ripe olives (preferably oil-cured)
- 1 to 2 garlic clove(s), peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook pasta of choice in 3 quarts boiling water to which a pinch of salt and about 2 tablespoons olive oil have been added, according to package directions or until just tender, al dente. Do not overcook. Drain pasta thoroughly under cold running water.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, vegetables, basil, and parsley. Add about ½ to 1 cup shredded cheese of choice and olives. In a small container, combine garlic, vinegar, and remaining olive oil; cover and shake vigorously until well blended. Drizzle dressing over pasta mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss lightly to mix. Serve at room temperature. May be chilled, if desired; add basil just before serving as basil does not refrigerate well.
Variation: Add 1 to 2 firm ripe avocado(s) which has(have) been peeled, seed(s) removed, cut into small pieces, and immediately sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Omit basil; add ½ to 1 cup finely snipped fresh oregano leaves to salad mixture.