So last weekend, my dad and I attended a concert at a great amphitheater. One of the great things about it is that everyone is allowed to bring their own food and drinks - including wine, beer and whatever else. I love that about that place. I wanted our menu to be simple, portable and filling, so a version of this pasta salad was the first thing that came to mind. I don't eat much pasta these days, so when I do, it's like a treat - and treats must be good! Good is exactly what this salad is. It's super easy to make and so incredibly flavorful. The best thing about this salad is that the longer it sits, the better it tastes - which also made it perfect for the concert. It's really easy to personalize, too. You can add chicken, use mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese instead of feta, pine nuts instead of walnuts, red onions instead of scallions, etc. So good. Here is my version...
Here is what you need and what to do (makes 4 large or 6 medium servings):
1lb shell pasta, regular or whole wheat
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (the tomatoes packed in olive oil have more flavor!)
1 cup feta cheese, diced or crumbled
1 bunch basil,
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with kosher salt - maybe a tablespoon or so. Cook the pasta until al dente, which means just done. It shouldn't be hard or mushy... Once it is done, drain it well add it to a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the pasta until it is well coated. Season the pasta with a little pepper to taste.
2. Once the pasta has cooled, add in the toasted walnuts, tomatoes, scallions, sundried tomatoes, basil, lemon juice and cheese. Toss very gently with a large spoon. Taste for seasonings and texture and adjust if necessary. Add a little more olive oil and/or lemon juice if it's too dry for your taste.
3. For maximum flavor, cover and refrigerate for a few hours. But it's good if eaten right away, too!
Image by me