This fresh, flavorful & vibrant pasta salad is the perfect dish for outdoor gatherings, it holds up great on warm days. Plus it makes for a healthy and delicious lunch, side or meatless meal!
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes (grape, Campari, cherry)
- 1 pound pasta (whichever noodle you like best for pasta salad)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- Grapeseed or olive oil
- Seasoned salt or Kosher salt and black pepper
- Fresh basil
- 1 small jalapeño seeds and stems removed, sliced paper thin (optional)
- Fresh shaved Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Very lightly, grease your baking sheet with a bit of oil on your fingertips or a paper towel.
- Halve your tomatoes and place them cut side up onto your baking sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of grapeseed/olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 25-40 minutes (the larger the tomatoes the longer it will take) or until the tomatoes begin to collapse. You don't want them to brown. Turn off the oven and allow them to sit in there, with the door shut for another 15 minutes. Allow the tomatoes to cool completely.
- Cook your pasta to package instructions for al dente (don't forget to season the water).
- While pasta is cooking, place 1/2 cup pine nuts directly in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Keep tossing the nuts or moving them with your spatula as the pan heats up. This will take about 4-5 minutes in all. Remove nuts from pan and set aside until ready to use.
- Drain pasta, toss with grapeseed/olive oil and season with your favorite seasoned salt blend or Kosher salt and pepper.
- Add in pine nuts, arugula, basil leaves (chiffonade/cut into ribbons) and tomatoes. If you enjoy a little heat, add in the jalapeno slices. Toss well.
- Taste and adjust, add additional oil or seasonings according to your taste. Scrape into serving bowl and sprinkle fresh shaved Parmesan onto layers of the salad, repeat until serving bowl is full. Liberally sprinkle the top with more Parmesan.
- Serve when ready. If you assemble pasta salad more than an hour ahead, you will need to toss with additional oil, same goes with any leftovers since the pasta will absorb the oil. Serve chilled or at room temperature (we enjoy this at room temperature).
Notes: Best if made an hour or less ahead of time. If making components of this ahead of time, assemble just prior to serving. The basil doesn’t stand up well to refrigeration.
Making pasta salad is very flexible; add in as much or as little of the above ingredients as you like, feel free to add in olives if you enjoy them as well.