This pasta salad is summer. It’s backyard barbecues and days at the beach.
I hated summer camp as a kid. Loved summer (duh), hated summer camp. I went to one of those day camps with my best friend at the local high school. I mean, we were in a school during the summer – what’s that about?
We spent our days trying to avoid playing volleyball and kickball and sitting around in our overalls, making friendship bracelets and talking about which Now and Then character we were. The highlight of my day was getting a frozen Snickers or a Gatorade from the vending machine.
Another thing I always looked forward to was lunch (yes, some things are very much the same.) I think my mom knew I hated camp, (I may have made it painfully obvious. In fact, that may have been the summer I perfected my signature eye roll.) so she sent me off with some extra special lunches in the summer months. Ones like this one, that I still think about.
Fresh basil is essential in this simple dish. And sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and Parmesan just make sense, really. It travels well, so it’s the right choice to bring to a party or a picnic. It’s my perfect summer side. And my Mom’s go-to recipe.
This pasta salad is best served after it’s spent the night in the fridge, cooling off and marinating. You can also add artichoke hearts and/or olives to take it further into antipasto pasta salad territory.
Make a big batch. You’ll want leftovers to pick at on a warm day.
Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad
- 500 gram (1 lb.) package of penne
- 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoe, drained with some of the oil reserved and sliced into strips
- 2 tablespoons reserved sun-dried tomato oil or olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup packed basil, larger leaves finely chopped
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta al dente in well-salted water according to the package instructions. (Usually 8-10 minutes in boiling water.)
While the pasta water is coming to a boil/the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and place in a large bowl. Combine sun-dried tomatoes, the sauteed garlic and the oil it was cooked in, basil, a little salt and fresh ground pepper and half of the Parmesan. Mix well.
Top with more Parmesan and a drizzle of sun-dried tomato oil and allow to stand for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Serve cold or at room temperature.