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Usually I will carefully follow a recipe, using the exact ingredients and measurements. But with this Mediterranean Pasta Salad, I didn’t want to make enough to feed 12 people, so I adjusted the amount of each ingredient, but not the ingredients themselves, and not consistently – it depended on the amount I happened to have in my refrigerator and what I happened to think the proportions should be – and my kids loved it!!


mediterranean pasta salad1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups diced seeded plum tomatoes

2 cups chopped fresh fennel

1 cup chopped fresh basil

6 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives

1/4 cup drained capers

(I added a handful of chopped Italian parsley)

16 ounces penne pasta

Whisk olive oil, tomato paste, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Combine tomatoes, fennel, basil, onions, olives, capers and parsley in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let tomato mixture stand at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Cook penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and drain again. Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Add tomato mixture and toss to blend.