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One of the dishes that is a big hit among family and friends is my Pasta Primavera.  My grandmother, my mother, my aunt, and my cousin made it often as I was growing up. It was always on the table at some summer get together.  I made it for an office pot-luck one time and my co-workers went crazy over it – everyone wanting the recipe.  It was definitely a keeper.  I introduced it to my husband and kids and it wasn’t such a big hit.  My husband and my daughter eat the pasta, my son eats the olives, my toddler doesn’t like it at all, and I eat everything else.  It’s a fairly popular dish at most summer barbecues among extended family and friends and I like it, so I keep making it.  It’s a light, refreshing, cold pasta dish that is really perfect for hot summer days.

I happened to come across another chilled pasta recipe and when I read the ingredients list, I was very intrigued.  I love Greek food – my family, not so much.  So, I don’t really get to enjoy it too often.  But this Greek Pasta Salad was a recipe I really wanted to try. So, I decided to make it – regardless of whether or not my family would try it!  More for me! 🙂  And truthfully, since it is a vegetarian dish, I really didn’t expect them to want any of it!  My hubby and kids are meat and potato loving people!

So, I made the salad and it was spectacular!  While the recipe calls for Orechiette pasta, I used Rotini.  Here’s a little side story…..  I went grocery shopping and included all of the ingredients for this salad on my list. I even bought Orechiette pasta.  You know – the ones that look like little hats.  Here’s a picture….

orechiette-pasta

So, I go to make the salad and I cannot for the life of me, find the box of Orecchiette pasta.  I know I bought one.  I know I put it in the pantry.  And now I can’t find it. Hmmmm.  Interestingly enough, the sudden disappearance of my box of pasta came right after my in-laws shared with us some odd occurrences that were happening in their house.  The joke became – is there a ghost in their house?  I think maybe it took a trip over to our house and stole my box of pasta!  I digress….

Rotini it is!  So I made the salad using rotini.  No big deal – just a little different.  But, truthfully, the rotini gave it some additional texture.  I love the combination of this salad.  There is such an incredible combination of textures and flavors – its a party in your mouth.  Literally!!  The dressing is a nice vinaigrette with just a hint of sweetness to balance all of the acidity and is nicely seasoned without being overpowering.  The ingredients of the salad are an incredible array of textures and flavors as well.  I love the slight chewiness of the artichokes with the tang of the marinade, the sweetness of the tomatoes, the crunch of the cucumbers, the creaminess of the garbanzo beans, and the saltiness of the kalamata olives.  Wow! What a party in your mouth!!  And I still didn’t even mention the crumble of feta cheese on top!  I need a moment…

 

OK

 

I’m good.

I don’t think I’ve been this excited over a pasta salad recipe – but this one really blew me away.  It’s a variety of ingredients and textures that I’ve really never seen combined before – but it is a combination of pure deliciousness!  If you’re looking for a refreshing pasta salad to serve at a summer barbecue – I highly recommend giving this one a try. You (and your guests) will not be disappointed!

You’ll see chopped raw red onions in the ingredient listing, but I absolutely cannot stand raw onions.  They are just too much for me.  Even the sweeter onions leave a nasty aftertaste and even burn eating them.  I can only eat cooked onions, so I chose to leave them out.

greek-pasta-salad2

greek-pasta-salad

Greek Pasta Salad

For the dressing:

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

For the salad:

1 lb. small shaped pasta (orecchiette, small shells, rotini, ditalini, elbows, etc.)
1 (14.5 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion (I omitted this, I hate raw onions!)
1 (9.5) oz. jar kalamata olives, drained
2 (14.75) oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained (and cut if pieces are too big)
Crumbled feta cheese

  1. In a quart size mason jar or medium bowl, combine all dressing ingredients.  Shake well if using a mason jar or whisk together until a vinaigrette consistency is formed using a wire whisk.  Let sit for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to meld and develop.
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Add a small drizzle of olive oil in the water while cooking.  This will prevent the pasta from sticking together while cooling. Drain and rinse well allowing the pasta to cool down.
  3. Once pasta is cooled, transfer to a large bowl.  Add salad ingredients (garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, and artichoke hearts).  Shake or whisk dressing to ensure it is well combined and pour over pasta and salad ingredients. Toss together ensuring the dressing coats all of the ingredients.
  4. Serve chilled and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.
  5. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and eat within one week.

Oh, and by the way, I did find the lost box of Orecchiette pasta.  It reappeared in my pantry – the day after I made this salad.

Recipe adapted from noblepig.com

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