Living in the city like I have for seven years, there aren’t many occasions to enjoy outdoor barbecues like I used to as a kid. So, since my husband and I will be buying our first house outside the city this spring, having friends over for a casual backyard bash is something I’m so excited to do!
I can’t remember, and you can probably relate, a single barbecue without pasta or potato salad – cold, refreshing and paired perfectly with a burger hot off the grill. The fresh flavors of all the homemade food, toes in the grass, the dogs running around – these are some of my favorite memories. I just can’t wait to replicate them in the house I share with Mark!
When we do have that eventual backyard barbecue, this pasta salad will definitely be included. Plump farfalle pasta tossed with sweet cherry tomatoes, scallions and chunks of chopped zucchini sautéed in olive oil make for vibrant, colorful flavors. Simply dressed with salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice and olive oil, this pasta salad is an easy, delicious and healthy option for weekday meals or weekend parties alike!
Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Zucchini and Parmesan
Yield: Serves 8
12 ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 whole lemon (more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 whole zucchini, cut into small wedges or diced
10 ounces grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 scallions, chopped finely
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package instructions, or until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water until completely cool. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and lemon juice, then add salt and pepper to taste (do not under-salt). Toss to combine.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil to medium in a stovetop pan, and add zucchini. Salt and pepper lightly, cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Add to the pasta along with the tomatoes, scallions and parmesan, and toss to combine. Add more of what you think it needs; I like to go heavy on the Parmesan! Squeeze in a little more lemon juice, or drizzle more olive oil if it needs more moisture.
Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before serving.
Add grilled shrimp, chicken, or steak if you need a little protein.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman