Summer Pasta Salad

Since the 4th is fast approaching, I thought I would share one of my favorite summer recipes with you - Pasta Salad
I got this recipe from a friend of a friend, and I think we make it at least every other week in the summer months.  It is wonderful hot, cold and even room temperature.  I have served it with any grilled meat you can name, hamburgers and even as a side for sandwiches.  It's that versatile.

Start by cutting up two pints of grape tomatoes (they are sweeter than the cherry tomatoes and when cut in half are the perfect bite size).  

Always cut them on the perimeter rather than from stem to end.  I just learned this from an amazing cook at our church.  When you cut them this way, they burst in your mouth for ultimate flavor.

Add to these, several leaves of fresh basil julienned.  

I like to stack the leaves on top of each other and fold them into a tight roll before cutting.

 Makes quick work of it.

Then add four teaspoons of garlic, one teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.  

Here's the most important step.  Let this mixture sit at room temperature for at least four hours.  This allows the garlic and basil to flavor the oil so that every bite has great taste.

Cook your pasta, any shape will work.
Drain your noodles and add immediately to the tomato mixture along with 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese.  

Serve as is or chilled.  If you want to make this a main course, simply add grilled chicken or shrimp. 

It's the perfect side dish for your weekend grilling.  I know we're having it for sure!
Happy Summer! M.
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