Last week, I posted about Avocado Chicken Salad, a moist, generally delicious summertime concoction that avoids using mayonnaise for flavor or binding purposes. This week, it's another seasonal recipe that eschews the heinousness of mayo: Lemon Basil Pasta Salad. Lovely on its own or as a base for more elaborate pasta dishes, it's a light, inexpensive alternative to your standard starch-based picnic sides.
The recipe is adapted from Party Line with the Hearty Boys, a show hosted by Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, the inaugural winners of The Next Food Network Star. I've made a similar dish from Ina Garten before, but it calls for two-thirds of a cup of olive oil, along with several more preparation steps. (It's good, though.) Dan and Steve created a simpler salad in their straightforward lemon dressing–farfalle mixture. Reviewers subsequently expanded and improved upon it, suggesting additions like artichokes, diced red pepper, mushrooms, and Parmesan, all of which should work very well. Really, your imagination is your only limit. Well, and your budget, geographic location, and allergies, if any.
It's should be noted that Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is fine as is, as well. Citrusy and light, it's solid for office lunches, picnics or picky eaters. We brought it to an outdoor concert this past weekend, and it was all we could do to keep random adults, explorative toddlers, bad dogs, and marauding ants from attacking the bowl. I'm pretty sure your neighborhood will dig it, too.
- 1 pound farfalle pasta
- 4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1 inch dice
- 20 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to cool down.
Put the pasta in a large serving bowl and add the tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and garnish with fresh basil leaves.