Caprese Pasta Salad ~ ElephantEats.com

We’re down at my mother-in-law’s for the long holiday weekend, and her big, bright kitchen inspired me to finally do some cooking.

Making Caprese Pasta Salad ~ ElephantEats.com

I hope that I’m getting this to you with enough notice that you can make it for your big Memorial Day spread tomorrow!

Caprese Pasta Salad 2 ~ ElephantEats.com

Not sure if it’s pregnancy or the weather but I’ve been craving a tangy pasta salad, specifically one with all the flavors of summer. I combined my love of Caprese Salad with pasta into this tasty dish. It’s super easy and quick and can sit out for a decent amount of time, so it’s great for when you have a buffet at your bbq.

Caprese Pasta Salad 3 ~ ElephantEats.com

Also, figured I’d throw in my 23 week pic, although I’m at 25 weeks now ;) Getting bigger every day…

23 weeks ~ ElephantEats.com

23 wks front ~ ElephantEats.com

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves 6
A quick and easy pasta salad, full of the flavors of summer!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb farfalle pasta, dried (or any shape you prefer)
  2. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  4. 3-4 cloves garlic, minced plus 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 5-6 medium tomatoes (this really depends how much tomato you like), diced with half of the juives removed
  6. 2 handfuls fresh basil, chopped
  7. 16 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
  8. 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste) and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water, then put in large bowl. Put empty pot back on stove top.
  2. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and oil plus salt and pepper.
  3. In the empty pot, add a couple Tablespoons of olive oil and add garlic. Saute a min until fragrant and lightly brown. Remove immediately and add to olive oil mixture.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, basil and mozzarella to bowl of pasta.
  5. Add in oil/vinegar mixture and toss well.
http://elephanteats.com/

Corn and tomato salad with basil

I apologize again for the lack of blog posts. I think this past week was the first time I went an entire week without posting and while it took some stress off of me, I was sad to break my post-at-least-once-per-week streak. Oh well, hopefully things will slow down after the wedding and gvive me more time to devote to this little blog. But on to the recipe…

Before the summer’s bounty of sweet, juicy corn and bright flavorful tomatoes is gone, you MUST make this.

It’s also a good way to use up some of the basil that’s taking over your herb garden. If that’s the case, I’m really jealous…I want a garden so badly.

I would create an indoor herb garden but my cat would eat everything I grew and then probably throw it up all over my living room. Does anyone have a solution for growing things indoors when there are cats around? One of my friends suggested maybe hanging the herbs in containers on the wall. That could definitely work, I’m just trying to figure out what type of containers I could use. Also, my apartment walls don’t take screws very well, only nails, so it’d have to be lightweight. I dunno if it’s worth the effort.

Corn and tomato salad with basil

Aaaanyway…the original recipe I based this from also added mozzarella and scallions to the dish, but I don’t like scallions and I really wanted this to be a nice fresh, low-cal side dish. I thought the cheese was unecessary since I’d be serving protein with it anyway.

It resulted in the most delicious, juicy, fresh summer salad you could imagine. I LOVE basil. Honestly, I think I could sprinkle a shoe with basil and it would taste summery, although this probably tastes a bit better than that. Nate and I couldn’t stop raving about this simple little dish.

Make this alongside some fish or chicken for your next meal!

Corn and tomato salad with basil

Oh and I almost forgot to mention, you NEED this tool in your kitchen if you don’t already have it:

Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/kuhn-rikon-corn-zipper/

I used to think this was stupid because you could just use a knife to strip all the kernels off. But after making a lot of corn recipes this summer and having the kernels fly all over the kitchen (I know you know what im talking about), I sucked it up and bought one. Actually I used a gift certificate so I didn’t even feel guilty about it.

Anyway, this could be one of my all-time greatest kitchen purchases. Seriously. It makes it SO much quicker, neater, and easier to de-kernel your cobs!

Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil

Adapted from the Food Network

Print this recipe!

makes about 5 cups

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 ears fresh corn, husked (about 4 cups corn kernels)
2 cups red or orange grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped

Whisk the vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth dressing.

Shear off the corn kernels with a sharp knife over a bowl. Toss in the tomatoes. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Cover and let set for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours (even good immediately!). Before serving stir in basil.

So what do you do when you have basil left over even though you already made 3 batches of pesto, one of which went into your Pesto Potato Salad? You look for other basil recipes, of course! Because you just can’t have too much basil.

Now I know there are cilantro haters out there, but do basil haters exist?  That would be weird. That’s like saying you don’t like chocolate.

Basil is such a quintessentially summer herb. Whenever it’s in the kitchen, the aroma perfumes my whole apartment. I just want to bury my face in it and inhale.

I’m not sure if it’s because it smells so good or because I associate childhood memories with the smells. Don’t you love when you get a whiff of something and it immediately transports you back to another time (hopefully a good one)? Smell memories are the best kind.

Anyway, when I had that leftover basil, one recipe immediately came to mind. It’s one that my mom used to make when she did a little catering on the side. It’s an easy, fresh summer meal, and it’s SO good.

The base is a sauce that’s made from soft goat cheese that melts and coats all the pasta and veggies. It’s heavenly. Please make this for dinner this week.

The recipe is below. You’re welcome.


Farfalle with Zucchini, Tomato and Basil
Taken from Mom’s recipe box :)

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
10 oz. Farfalle
2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
1/4 cup olive oil
5 oz. Robiola or other mild, soft goat chesse, cut in pieces
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
1.4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic

1.  Cook farfalle al dente. Drain, rserving 1/2 cup cookin water.

2. In skillet, saute zucchini in oil on med-high, stirring til golden on edges. Salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta, stir and cook 3 min.

3. Remove skillet from heat, stir in cheese and as much pasta water as necessary to form a sauce.

4. Stir in tomato and basil. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve immediately.

*Note: If you will be saving some for leftovers, save some of the pasta water too, as it thickens in the fridge.

How’d you like that title for alliteration? ;) The reason I say that it’s perfect for picnics or outdoor bbqs is because there’s no mayonaisse in this salad. Which means no spoiling and no making partygoers sick. I think that’s a win-win for everyone.

Plus, I’m pretty sure I haven’t met a person who doesn’t eat pesto. This is a sophisticated take on the typical potato salad. It contains toasted pine nuts mixed in with the taters and sauce.

So how did I decide to make this recipe? Well, let me tell you a little story. It starts like this:

Grocery shopping in New York City completely sucks. The markets are small, with limited supplies and the prices are through the roof. This is the main reason that Nate loves to shop at Trader Joe’s.

TJ’s is great for some things, but for produce it’s really not the best. Since we just moved and have to completely restock our fridge, I suggested we take a walk over to the West Side and get some stuff at TJs and then go next door to Fairway.

I had heard that Fairway is pretty much the best supermarket in Manhattan. It’s large with competitive prices. So this weekend we packed up our shopping bags and headed over.

I have to say that their produce selection far surpassed any other market in NYC. While there, I noticed a bounty of basil. They were selling a gigantic bunch for under $2! Compared to the little package at the other markets for like $4, I was thrilled.

Needless to say, pesto was on my mind.

Now, if you’re going to make the effort to haul out the food processor for this recipe, you should definitely double or triple the amount of pesto you make. I’m sure you know that pesto can be enjoyed many ways, so it’s always good to have some around. I tripled the pesto part of the recipe so I could have some on hand for pasta when I’m feeling lazy later in the week.

I <3 basil.

This dish is best served at room temp but could easily be served cold as well. You should definitely make it for your next summer party.


Potato Salad with Pine Nuts and Pesto
Source unknown

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Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 lb boiling potatoes
salt and pepper

Make pesto- put basil leaves, 2 Tbsp pine nuts, oil, cheese and garlic in blender. Puree.

Steam potatoes, cut in 3/4″ pieces. Place in bowl, toss with pesto while still warm.

Add rest of pine nuts, season with salt and pepper.

Serve room temperature.