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23 July 2006

Gazpacho Pasta Salad (Cooks Illustrated)

Gazpacho Pasta Salad

Serves 8 to 10

Gazpacho, the classic chilled summer soup, gets a new look as a dressing for this zesty pasta salad. Use any curly pasta in this recipe.

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes (do not drain)

3 medium cloves garlic , minced

1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Table salt

1 pound rotini pasta

1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper , chopped

1 medium yellow bell pepper , chopped

2 cups cherry tomatoes , halved

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

3 scallions , thinly sliced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup pitted black olives , quartered

1. Puree diced tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in blender until smooth. Transfer to bowl (don't use metal), cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

3. Place cucumber, red and yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes, parsley, scallions, and oil in large serving bowl and toss well to combine. Add pasta and pureed dressing and toss again. (Salad can be refrigerated overnight.) Scatter cheese and olives over top. Serve chilled or at room temperature.