Easy-Peasy Penne Salad


Every once in awhile, I make a dinner that’s too good not to share…but at the same time, I almost don’t want to just because it’s so tasty. More for me!

Now, I’m not a huge fan of pasta salad. It’s usually cold, slimy, and swimming in Italian dressing. Or it’s that weird creamy concoction.  But when I saw this recipe and found it’s olive oil and it’s a room-temp pasta salad…I was sold.

I make this close to once week — it’s easy, it’s filling, and there’s leftovers for me to take for lunch.

So for my inaugural post, here’s one of my favorite recipes.

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Ingredients:

  • 1lb penne (I like whole wheat, but Aldi was lacking on my last trip)
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 c sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 oz grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz ball of whole milk mozzarella, cubed
  • Arugula
  • salt
  • pepper

1. Get your water boiling! Toss some salt and oil in.
2. While waiting for a boil, slice the sun-dried tomatoes.  Once they’re sliced, sprinkle with salt, and put aside.
3. By now, the water should be at a boil or close to it: once it’s at a rolling boil, add pasta. Set a timer, keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. In the meantime:
4. Halve the grape tomatoes.
5. Cube your ball o’ cheese.
6. Drain/rinse pasta, put aside in large bowl or pot.
7. In a small skillet, combine garlic and olive oil.  Heat on medium-high.  When garlic starts to brown, add sun-dried tomatoes.  Heat just a minute or two more until garlic is browned and tomatoes are soft. Let cool for a few minutes.
8.  Add the olive oil and sundried tomatoes to the pasta, mix.  Start adding in the rest: first tomatoes, then cheese, and last, a few handfuls of arugula, mixing after each ingredient is added.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Some notes:
This is just a base! I’ve added in black olives and fresh basil, too. It would be great with a protein like chicken or steak, either on the side or mixed in.  On its own, it could probably be 4-5 servings, plenty more if it’s a side.
To make slicing the sun-dried tomatoes easier, I pull them flat and then roll them up jellyroll-style to make easy slices.
You could also spring for boconccini, the tiny mozzarella balls, and halve those just like the grape tomatoes.

Let me know if you make this! What did you change? What did you add?

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