Summertime is the perfect time for keeping things simple, and that includes meals. That’s why I love salads. You can take them from a side dish to a main dish easily. They’re cool, light, tasty, easy to put together and a big plus is that you don’t have to heat up the kitchen! Today I want to share with you a recipe for an Italian Pasta Salad I prepared for a Fourth of July party at our house. I used orecchiette pasta, which is has a cute shape to it. Orecchiette pasta is often referred to as “little ears” or “priest’s hats”. When you see this type of pasta, you’ll understand why. I combined the pasta with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and mixed in lots of vegetables, mozzarella cheese and chopped bacon.
I really loved the flavors together in this pasta salad. It a great side dish and we enjoyed the leftovers the next day for lunch. This recipe will make quite a bit of pasta salad, so it’s a perfect dish to bring to a pot-luck or enjoy the leftovers for later in the week.
1 pound orecchiette pasta ( use any type of pasta you like )
1 large red pepper, cored, seeded, diced and cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 6- ounce can of pitted olives, sliced
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 pound of mozzarella, cubed
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
Mix the following together in a small bowl.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped rosemary
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and set aside. Cook the bacon and after it has cooled, chop or crumble it and set aside as well.
Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl, add in all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Stir in the lemon vinaigrette. Refrigerate until ready to serve.