This is a favorite family summer recipe. My kids love this meal and each of them have asked for it as their birthday dinner in the past. The problem with this special birthday request is that both of my kids have winter birthdays, which means this meal is not in season. This meal is really best in summer when the tomatoes are freshly picked and go from vine to cutting board to salad in very little time. Same with the basil. There’s nothing better than fresh basil in the summer, is there?
- 12-16 ounce (about 1 pound) whole wheat rotelle pasta
- 12-16 ounce (about 1 pound) fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
- 8-12 basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 4 cups tomatoes, diced
- 1 clove garlic, mashed with 1 teaspoon salt (use a mortar and pestle)
- ¾ cup olive oil (see note below)
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to instructions, drain and cool.
- Place pasta in large bowl.
- Chop tomatoes and basil and add to cooled pasta in bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients and whisk until completely mixed together.
- Pour dressing over pasta, basil and tomatoes. Toss in chopped mozzarella.
- Mix and enjoy.
- I like the rotelle pasta noodle with this recipe. It really holds the basil and dressing in place. My pasta is from WinCo’s bulk section (scoop it out yourself and mark the tag) and is 100% whole wheat. I love WinCo’s bulk section and the price per pound on this? $1.09/pound. Healthy and inexpensive but you’ll have to bag the groceries yourself.
- If you’re using fresh mozzarella that is marinated (like mine pictured below) drain the oil and spices from the cheese container into your bowl for making the dressing. Then, add only enough olive oil to total 3/4 cup. This way, you’re using the oil the cheese was packaged in and you’re not wasting the good spices.
- Many manufacturers are making whole wheat or whole grain pasta but it comes in 12 ounce or 13 ounce packages instead of 16 ounce or 1 pound packages. I’ve been tricked by this – buying 13 ounces when I thought it was 16 ounces! – So use what you have and if making a pound, toss in more veggies and make a little more dressing if you need to.
I also like this meal served on the front porch with a glass of wine!
What’s your favorite summer dinner?