It is one of those hot lazy days when I didn't want to confront the heat of cooking. The only ingredient involved with fire & heat is the pasta. For the rest, I was home free. Of course, if you are one of those people who can tolerate heat, you can also grill the peppers yourself instead of using the bottled ones. I am one of those flowers that wilt fast when I stay too long in the heat of the kitchen during summer. During the long heat waves in the past summers, I literally closed down my kitchen only after learning from the other women that they had long abandoned their own kitchens. They were looking at me strangely like I was some sort of a kitchen Mother Theresa for still continuing to cook in spite of the heat.
My cupboards' principal contents are the ones that I mixed this pasta salad with. Olives, capers, tuna & grilled peppers. The basil were freshly picked from my own plants and the mozzarella were freshly bought. I can't keep them long in the fridge because they are fresh and don't last long. And well, they won't keep long under the watchful eyes of my husband. If Sesame Street has Cookie Monster on the loose, I have the mozzarella version at home.
Cold pasta salads are wonderful fresh, healthy & easy options for summer meals. You can mix anything that you have at hand and you can prepare them much in advance. I cooked a normal pasta dish for lunch so I just cooked more pasta than we needed and prepared the cold pasta salad in the afternoon. Just don't forget to mix the extra virgin olive oil with the pasta before leaving it to cool or you will end up with one colossal pasta ball that will refuse to separate. I let it sit with the condiments to absorb the taste and voila! I was cool as an icicle when dinner came. No harried-mom look for once.
The quantities of the ingredients depend solely on you. You can modify it according to your taste. You know how it goes. The more ingredients you put, the tastier it becomes.
Grilled Pepper & Mozzarella Pasta Salad
- 300 g. short pasta (I used mezze penne rigate.)
- 250 g. bottled grilled pepper, drained & chopped
- 3 tbsp. capers, preserved in vinegar (If you are using the ones preserved in salt, rinse first under the tap, give a light squeeze & soak in white wine vinegar for about 10 - 15 minutes.)
- 1/3 cup olives, chopped (green or black)
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
- 200 g. mozzarella, squeezed lightly to send away water & cubed
- 180 g. canned tuna
- extra virgin olive oil
- Boil water for the pasta. Add salt when it boils. Add the pasta. Cook according to the cooking time suggested in the package. When cooked, drain immediately & run under cold tap water to stop the cooking. Drain. Mix with extra virgin olive oil to avoid sticking to each other. Let it cool.
- Add all the ingredients to the pasta and mix well. Add extra virgin olive oil if still needed. Season with salt.