Spring has sprung! I love the seasons - all of them, including winter - and I get truly excited when a new season is making its appearance. Our neighborhood is coming alive with cherry blossoms, the weather is warming up, and even more exciting, the sun is rising well before my high-schooler leaves for the bus! I think I miss the sun more than anything else during the winter months.
Today, the kids had half-days at school and Andy took the day off. The weather was warm, clear, and beautiful, and it just felt like a Saturday. It only seemed right that we should cook out, so Andy fired up the grill and cooked ribs and hot dogs that we had stored in the freezer. My standard "go to" sides for cookouts are baked macaroni and cheese and some variation of potato salad. Today I wanted to do something different, and the thought of a nice, cool, pasta salad just sounded so refreshing and, well, "spring-timey." After a little searching online, I found this recipe from Real Simple. I made just a few little changes, like cutting back on the tomatoes since I have a tomato-hater in the family, adding some green onion, and using Romano cheese instead of Parmesan. It turned out to be the perfect side dish for our cookout, and my tomato-hater was able to easily remove the offensive fruit from his portion.
Just a little note. This recipe makes a lot of pasta salad. It was way too much for our family of 5, so I will probably take some leftovers to my grown daughter Whitney - and we'll also be eating it here for a few days. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
PASTA SALAD WITH TOMATOES
12 ounces whole-wheat mini shell pasta
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
5 green onions, sliced
4 ounces Romano cheese, crumbled into small pieces with a fork
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried chives
1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and immediately immerse in an ice bath to cool. Drain again and set aside.
2. Combine olive oil, salt, pepper, and green onions in a large bowl. Add cooled pasta and mix well to coat. Gently toss with cherry tomatoes and Romano cheese.
3. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.