Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

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For throwback Thursday I decided to repost a past blog entry. With the summer heat, and many of us entertaining outdoors, it’s sometimes a challenge to find foods that won’t spoil. My suggestion is to stay away from dairy-based foods or dressings and find alternatives that will hold without worry. I also look for options that are simple and that I can make the day before, allowing me to free up my time for last minute details. So, leave the macaroni salad at the deli counter and try this pasta salad instead. I promise it won’t disappoint!

Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

1-  Pound rigatoni

3 ounces dehydrated sundried tomatoes

1/3-cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves minced garlic

4-6 fresh basil leaves, shredded

¼ tsp sugar

I often make sundried tomatoes as an appetizer. I usually buy the dehydrated ones and soak them in boiling water for five minutes to rehydrate. Drain and gently squeeze out the excess water. Dress with the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, basil and sugar. These measurements are estimates. I never measure. I taste and add more seasoning if needed. After you dress the tomatoes, separate half of them and put in a small food processor. The mixture will look like a paste. It should be a loose paste. You may need to add some additional olive oil to the food processor to get the proper consistency. In the meantime, boil the pasta. It should be al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Mix in the paste, coating the pasta. The remaining (whole) sundried tomatoes should be sliced into halves or thirds and mixed into the pasta as well. The oil and herbs that dressed the tomatoes will coat and add flavor to the pasta. Serve cold or at room temperature.

* If you wish, you may add small chunks of fresh mozzarella, but without it, this dish is a tasty option for your vegan guests.

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