I created this simple recipe as an alternative to purchasing high-priced store-bought pasta salad at a ridiculous $5.99/pound. You can use either penne or orecchiette pasta with fantastic results. The quantity shown here will set you back a whopping two dollars.
This is a cold pasta salad that should be chilled before serving so the flavors have time to set. Enjoy—
3 cups penne or orecchiette pasta, cooked al dente
1 pinch table salt
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup XV olive oil, plus more for mixing
1/4 cup finely-sliced scallion greens
2 tbs. minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. crushed dry Italian basil
1 cup coarse-grated hard Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Heat one quart of water in a saucepan with a pinch of table salt until boiling. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until just al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain and run under cold water in a colander to stop it from cooking. Shake off all the water and place in a large mixing bowl.
While preparing the pasta, heat 1/4 cup of XV olive oil in a small, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the minced raw garlic and sauté until fragrant. It should just start to turn a straw color. Remove from the heat and let stand to cool.
Add the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl and fold in with a spatula. When cooled, add the garlic and olive oil and mix to incorporate. You can add more olive oil if necessary based on preference. Correct the seasoning if needed and chill for 1 hour before serving.
Mike’s ProTip: Take the time and sauté the garlic. This step is critical. It mellows the acrid bite while infusing the olive oil, adding an incredible depth of flavor.