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Summertime Pasta Salad

Sometimes it's just too hot to eat hot food. Here's a good base for some pasta salad that is super flexible. Adapted from THE Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon sugar

8 oz pasta (gnocchi, rotini, bow ties, tortellini or penne)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup slivered fresh basil

We went to a potluck recently and I found a recipe for bruschetta salad which encouraged you to quarter the tomatoes and then put them in a bowl with sugar and let them sit for 30 minutes. Then once the seeds had loosened, you put them in a salad spinner and got out all the extra juice. It was a step I thought was dumb, but worked out nicely. So I did that here. While those sat, I started my water boiling. Once I put my pasta in the boiling water, I put together my dressing. Mix everything except the basil together and use a whisk to incorporate it. Then add the basil and by that time, your pasta should be ready. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. It's great to eat on all week.

This week I used rice wine vinegar and a little balsamic. You can add any veggies you like. I almost always make mine with tortellini, so I don't add cheese. You could also add salami, parmesan, feta, mozzarella. The original recipe calls for 8 ounces of green beans (added immediately) and 1 cup of spinach (to be added when you serve).

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