Summer Pasta Salad - 4 servings
This is a very different type of pasta salad as there is no mayonnaise used. Feel free to add any other vegetables you have in the fridge - yellow summer squash or broccoli are good add-ins.
Mild Olive Oil - for sauteing
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb. ziti or other dry pasta
1 small onion - diced
2 lbs. zucchini sliced into 1/4" pieces (if the zucchini are large cut in half lengthwise before slicing)
salt and pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
1 oz. fresh basil
pinch of crushed red pepper
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup diced mozzarella cheese
1 - 2 oz. grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano or a mixture.
Boil 1 lb. pasta until al dente, drain, toss with olive oil and cool.
In a large skillet, heat 3 Tbsp. of mild olive oil and add onions
Once the onions are transparent add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper and continue cooking for about 10 minutes (zucchini should be softened but not mushy) - cool
Using a mortar and pestle or a mini food processor mix garlic, basil, crushed red pepper, lemon zest, and a little salt into a rough paste - add in 3 Tbsp. of EVOO.
Add vegetables, basil paste and cubed mozzarella to cooled pasta and toss.
Add about 1/2 cup of cheese and toss - add more EVOO and cheese if needed.
Chill and serve.