Friday, July 17, 2015

Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

Thinking about this salad still makes me laugh.  While I thought it was pretty delicious, I will be honest with you and share the following text conversation I had with Kenzie about it:

So clearly this pasta salad isn't for everyone.  But truly I don't understand why!  The roasted tomatoes in this salad are incredible, and please do not skip the step of roasting them yourself.  They are still juicy and incredibly sweet, and definitely the best part of the salad.  But there are also crunchy toasted pine nuts (which Kenzie hates apparently, who knew?), salty olives, fresh basil, and the salty salad cheese of your choice (I used feta).  You also make your own oregano salad dressing for it, which I will admit was a tiny bit strong (maybe a little too much lemon and vinegar for my liking), but still flavorful and delicious nevertheless.

If you try this recipe out, please let me know how it goes.  It was split here between Kenz and I, and I'd love for someone to break the tie.  Has there ever been a recipe like that in your house, where one person loves it and someone else thinks it's "honestly disgusting?" :)


pasta salad with roasted tomatoes
from Smitten Kitchen
serves 8

for roasted tomatoes:
4 cups grape tomatoes
olive oil
for oregano dressing:
1 big or 2 small cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
for salad:
1 pound dried pasta, cooked until 1 - 2 minutes before doneness and drained
6 ounces crumbles salty cheese, such as ricotta salt, feta, quest fresco, etc.
1/2 cup pine nuts, well-toasted and cooled
1/2 cup pitted and rough-chopped olives of your choice (I used kalamata)
salt and pepper
handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped


1) Roast tomatoes.  Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Cover 1 to 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.  Cut each small tomato in half lengthwise and arrange cut side up in a single layer on prepared sheets.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake in oven for approximately 90 minutes, until somewhat shriveled and dry to the touch, but not fully dehydrated.  Set aside until needed, letting them cool.  Note: if your pine nuts aren't toasted yet, you can place them in the oven for the last 10 minutes, shaking them once or twice for even coloring.  Let cool as well before using.

2) Make dressing: roughly chop the garlic on a cutting board, then add oregano, salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Mince the mixture with your knife until it's a grainy herb paste.  Transfer to a small bowl, whisk in lemon juice and vinegar, then slowly drizzle in oil, whisking the whole time.  Taste and adjust as needed.

3) Assemble salad: in a giant bowl, place drained pasta, roasted tomatoes, cheese, pine nuts, and olives, and toss gently to combine.  Add dressing to taste, along with any extra salt and pepper needed.  Finish with basil.  Salad can be eaten right away, but will keep in the fridge up to 3 days.

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