Mediterranean Pasta Salad

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on July 19, 2010

Mediterranean Pasta Salad, www.goodfoodgourmet.comA friend of mine was getting married over the weekend, and to save money she wanted to prepare much of the food herself. She managed to get everything done without getting too overwhelmed by keeping her guest list down to 50 people. The reception was actually a huge BBQ cookout that took place in her backyard. She offered many of the usual suspects — ribs, chicken, sausage, corn on the cob and even small grilled pizzas. Her goal was to stay away from things with mayo, since some of the food will be sitting out while guests enjoy the meal. I suggested a  side dish of my Mediterranean Pasta Salad recipe with all of the flavor you would want, but none of the worries. Make this the day before and keep covered in the refrigerator allowing all of the flavors to mingle happily together overnight. Great for a cookout or any formal occasion, and perfect served either warm or cold.

***An original recipe from www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
12 oz box of pasta of your choice (tricolor looks great, see below)
1 ½ cups artichoke tapenade (chopped artichokes, green olives, olive oil, lemon juice, S&P, capers)
2-3 cups crumbled feta, **need a very good quality, creamy feta
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
½ olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
red pepper flakes or chopped chives **optional
1 large seeded and finely diced tomato **optional, add right before serving

Cook the pasta in salted water and drain in a colander, then rinse gently but not too much. The pasta should still be warm when you put it all together because it will absorb the flavors much better when warm. While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing so that you can add it to the pasta while still warm. Place the olive oil, mustard, black pepper, dill and parsley together in a small bowl and mix well. Once the pasta is cooked and gently rinsed in the colander, place it in a large bowl and pour over half of the dressing. Mix the dressing in with the pasta to prevent the pasta from sticking together.  Add the crumble the feta, chopped kalamata olives and tapenade to the pasta and mix it all in together.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Add the remaining dressing a little at a time until it is all absorbed into the pasta. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the pasta to cool completely on the counter and then refrigerate overnight. Place the finished pasta salad into your serving dish and garnish with baby artichoke quarters.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Looks great with tri-colored pasta…

Mediterranean Pasta Salad, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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