A Taste of Summer in the Depths of Winter: my Favourite Childhood Pasta Salad
Updated: May 2, 2020
This pasta salad not only takes about 5 minutes to prepare (from start to finish, the actual tossing part takes 30 seconds), it is also my first memory or association to loving cheese. Yes, you read that right. As a child who did not appreciate cheese (never dropped on the head or anything, I asked), I did not learn to love it with the help of pizza or juicy lasagne. It was through countless bowls of this summer salad which my mother would prepare for us and serve outside, where we would eat together among our father's elaborate gardens (yes, the man cultivates several yearly: tulips, lilies, vegetables, herbs, and so many I cannot name because I suck- when he shows my daughter eventually, I intend on following along and I'm not sure yet if I'll pretend I was already aware of all this new information or not- for her, he'll laugh). I am also fairly certain I enjoyed our mother's mac n'cheese, but that's because I had no idea the white sauce was actually cheese. No worries, I ended up going to university and doing very well in school.
For some reason, you can convince a child to eat almost anything as long as they don't see the ingredient. I do hope introducing Ella to greens very early will make her adore them as much as I do- but if not, I already have many emergency plans in place to hide them into each meal of hers until she leaves the house.
All that to say that next time you get your hands on fresh basil (brownie points if it comes from my father's garden, your win truly), try out this recipe and enjoy how light and refreshing it feels- so light in fact, that multiple bowls down, you will ask your friends 'who wants dessert?'- and then make them fetch you some.
*Insert a tacky sentence on how Bocconcini pairs so beautifully with basil and fresh tomatoes on a sunny summer day.*
You will need,
Cherry tomatoes (all sizes and colours, 1 pint, chopped)
Basil (a huge handful, chopped)
Boconccini (half a package, but don't get hung up on measurements, I throw in different quantities each time and it tastes wonderful!)
Pasta (any type works great, I have done it hundreds of times and it never disappoints)
Sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil (tons, and invest in a nice one as it is a dominant ingredient!)
Optional: balsamic glaze and minced garlic, never ever hurts
1. Chop the tomatoes and cheese in halves and the basil finely, throw in a large mixing bowl
2. Cook the pasta in boiling salt water, drain and throw into the mix
3. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper and Sauvignon Blanc (you don't have to, Rosé is also perfectly adequate for this meal)