Roasted Pepper Tomato Basil Pasta Salad

I detest mayonnaise and vinegar, and eat all my salads without dressing, so I needed to find a pasta salad recipe that works well without any of that nasty stuff. So here’s a cold pasta salad with olive oil for non-stickiness, Italian-ish with peppers, basil, and parmesan cheese. The veggies are roasted instead of raw, so there isn’t any crunchiness to conflict with the soft pasta.

Ingredients:

1 lb farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 10-oz package grape tomatoes
5 whole fresh garlic cloves
1 pkg fresh basil leaves (.66oz, about 10 leaves)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
fresh ground pepper
parmesan or romano cheese (long-grated)

The Process:

Cook the pasta in heavily salted Aquasana-filtered water till well done (soft throughout, 2+ minutes past al dente). Rinse and drown in cold water. Roast the peppers & garlic: cut peppers in quarters and place in pan skin side up; add the whole garlic cloves; broil till charred. Set aside for a few minutes; peel the garlic and peppers; smash & mince the garlic, and slice the peppers thin. Roast the tomatoes: cut them in half lengthwise and roast in the oven about 5 minutes till a little soft (not under the broiler – don’t char them).
Thinly slice the basil. Toss everything together and refrigerate.
If you’re going to make this the night before, leave out the basil and cheese; when you’re ready to serve it, toss those in.

Tips:

Cook the pasta well-done. Pasta served cold like this will be plenty firm if cooked all the way through, and al dente will be too chewy. I read somewhere authoritative-sounding that raw veggies don’t go well with pasta, and I tend to agree. Thus, roast the garlic and peppers and tomatoes. Use long-grated rather than fine-grained or powdered parmesan cheese. You shouldn’t need to add salt because the cheese has some saltiness and the pasta should pick up some saltiness if you heavily salt the water, which you should.

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