Love and Olive Oil

Darn Good Penne Pasta Salad

Getting a recipe out of Taylor is like pulling teeth. He made this the other day, and it was truly delicious. Like, better than deli-style pasta salad. Good enough that we’re making it again for lunches this week. But when Taylor’s in the kitchen, it’s like his mind is somewhere else. Ask him two seconds later just how much olive oil he added… blank stare. So the fact that you’re actually getting a rough estimation of this recipe is cause for celebration. Seriously. Why don’t you go make this pasta salad and have a party?

Darn Good Penne Pasta Salad

Makes 4 servings. Recipe from somewhere in Taylor’s brain.

1lb penne pasta
1/2 cup assorted green & black greek olives, pitted and halved
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 2-3 roma tomatoes, diced)
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup peppercinis, thinly sliced
seasoned feta cheese (we used peppercorn flavored)

For dressing:
1/4 cup (ish) red wine vinegar, or to taste
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
salt and pepper

Put minced garlic into a small bowl. Pour over red wine vinegar. Set aside while you prep everything else.

Cook penne according to package directions, until al dente. Drain thoroughly, toss with a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking, and let cool.

Add mustard and sugar to vinegar mixture and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Taste and season as necessary. If it tastes too sweet, add more vinegar. Too sour, add more sugar. These measurements are very rough – it’s up to you to decide what tastes good. If anything, err on the sweet side, as the olives, tomatoes, and peppercinis will balance it out in the final salad.

Toss pasta with other ingredients and dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple hours to allow all the flavors to marinate.

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  1. Love this recipe! Dont go changing things around, if so your making something else. Its a great recipe. Thanks

  2. Eating it right now! with a variation: added capers thin sliced and thinly sliced bell peppers instead of olives. An easier version for the dressing is to use your favorite Italian dressing or oil and balsamic vinegar! YUM!!!

  3. This sounds great. Stumbled upon your site through Smitten Kitchen. So glad I found you! :)

  4. This sounds awesome

  5. Sounds delicious!
    I’m glad to discover this blog… very nice recipes.

  6. I absolutely LOVE pasta salad, and this looks simply divine! I love the combination of fresh feta and basil. Now I’m craving this for dinner tonite! :)

  7. Gotta love a darn good pasta salad :)

  8. Actually we stand by Taylor when preparing meals: it’s difficult to remember specific amounts of ingredients when your sense of taste is a better judge of quantities.

    When it’s meal time who wants to be dashing to the market in hopes of finding a missing food item. This recipe is quick and easy that even the kids are able to add it to their kitchen skills.

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