Creamy pasta salad chockfull of crisp tomatoes, cucumber, and chickpeas with Stracciatella cheese, fresh herbs, and homemade Dijon vinaigrette.
- 4 cups uncooked fusilli pasta
- 1 bag or container or Stracciatella cheese
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced and halved
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (and extra for drizzling)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of herbes de Provence
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend just until all ingredients are incorporated and mixed together well. You could also use a whisk and do this part by hand.
- Set the dressing aside as you prepare the base of the pasta salad.
- Cook the 4 cups of fusilli pasta according to package instructions. Drain, toss in some olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.
- Add the sliced cherry tomatoes, cucumber, herbs, and toasted pine nuts to the cooked pasta. If starting with untoasted pine nuts, toast over medium in a pan. Keep the pine nuts in a single layer and watch like a hawk – they’ll burn quickly! Remove from heat once they start to turn a soft golden brown.
- Add the dressing to the pasta salad base and toss to coat evenly.
- Open the Stracciatella and drain the liquid from the cheese. Set aside and reserve the liquid for later.
- Spoon liberal dollops of Stracciatella cheese into the pasta salad and toss.
- Add in a few spoonfuls (3-4 tablespoons) of the reserved liquid from the Stracciatella and toss to coat.
- To serve, top off with a liberal amount of freshly cracked black pepper and perhaps another dollop of Stracciatella cheese on top (no such thing as too much Stracciatella!)
Keep any excess Stracciatella liquid on hand and use it to add creaminess to other pasta sauces. I add it to a classic red tomato sauce or even a pesto to make the sauce creamy. It’s delightful!
Keywords: pasta salad, stracciatella, creamy pasta salad, vegetarian, mediterranean, picnic