Tomato and garlic pasta salad
Use this simple recipe as a basis for a main course and just add what you fancy to bulk it out and give it interest.
Make about half the quantity if you are using it as a side-salad.
- 300 g small dried pasta shapes such as shells, small macaroni etc.
- 4 whole unpeeled Cloves of garlic.
- A quarter of a cucumber, peeled and finely chopped.
- A handful of black pitted olives.
- 400 g mixed cherry tomatoes of your choice.
- 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar.
- 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- A few spring onions, finely chopped or a handful finely chopped of chives.
- A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn.
- A handful of fresh parsley, chopped.
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
A selection of your favourites from:
- Blanched, chopped asparagus.
- Chopped anchovies
- Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Chopped salami, bacon, parma ham, etc.
- Cooked peas / beans / chickpeas / sweetcorn etc.
- Grated carrots.
- Chopped celery.
- Baby broad beans.
- Avocado pear.
- Sun-dried tomatoes.
- Chopped roast bell peppers
- Blanched broccoli florets.
- Chopped dried shrimp - re-hydrate by pre-soaking in just boiled water for 10 minutes
- Small fresh prawns.
- Pine nuts.
- Crushed walnuts.
- Quartered hard-boiled eggs.
- Boil the pasta and the garlic cloves in a large pan of salted water until al-dente. About 6 to 9 minutes for dried pasta, much less for fresh pasta.
- Reserve the garlic, drain and rinse the pasta under cold running water to cool.
- Chop the tomatoes, cucumber, olives and other ingredients into fairly small pieces, ideally around the same size as the pasta. Arrange in a large serving bowl.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves into a mortar and pestle, add the oil and vinegar and mush up into a paste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle this dressing over the salad, toss and serve.
Any ingredients that need to remain dry, such as croutons, nuts etc. should be added at the last moment.