Pasta Salad with Kalamata Olives and Artichoke Hearts recipe

Pasta Salad with Kalamata Olives and Artichoke Hearts

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This pasta salad takes on all the wonderful, briny flavors of the Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, and marinated artichokes hearts. To let these flavors shine through, we wanted a lighter dressing that wouldn’t compete with the other ingredients. Our vinaigrette is made with equal amounts of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and canola oil. It has a mellow taste that pairs well with the strong flavors of this antipasto-like dish.

Tips

  • This vinaigrette is for a 12-ounce pasta salad. If you want a larger salad, increase the vinaigrette ingredients accordingly.
  • To reduce the bitter flavor sometimes associated with cucumber skins, peel the cucumber in long, alternate strips. This gives a nice balance of flavor while still keeping some of the color.
  • A kitchen scale works well to weigh out the fusilli.
  • I don’t like to make pasta salad too far in advance because it has a tendency to get overly starchy when it’s kept in the refrigerator more than a few hours. Instead, I prepare the individual ingredients earlier in the day and assemble about an hour or so before serving.

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Pasta Salad with Kalamata Olives and Artichoke Hearts

Salad Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fusilli pasta (about 4 1/4 cups dry pasta)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, quartered, with each wedge cut in half
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch slices, and each slice quartered
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts (or quarters), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup pepperoncini, stemmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips

Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic, grated on a Microplane or finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

Directions

Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. For pasta salads, it should be cooked all the way through, a little past al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse briefly with cold water to remove some of the starch. Stir it a couple of times while it’s cooling to keep the pasta from sticking together.

Place the pasta in a large pan or bowl, big enough to combine all of the ingredients. Whisk the dressing again and pour it over the pasta. Toss well to coat. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, pepperoncini, and artichokes. Toss again gently and transfer to a serving bowl.

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