This pasta salad has been a favorite in our family since I first discovered the basis of it on the Epicurious website about ten years ago and then kicked it up to make it my own. It’s made with 12-16 ounces of dried penne or rotini, a lemony-mustard-herb dressing, and heaps of Sheep’s milk feta, tomatoes, and fresh chopped vegetables to make it a winner as a side dish or a light lunch in and of itself. I’ve taken this to gatherings of friends and family – doubled the recipe for a crowd – and it’s often the one thing among the plentiful assortment of choices that’s gone completely in a flash.
Dressing: Whisk together 7 T extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 T whole grain mustard, 2 plump garlic cloves minced, grated peel of one lemon, 1-1/2 tsp dried oregano; 1-1/2 tsp dried mint. S&P to taste.
Pasta: Cook 12-16 ounces dried rotini, penne, or combination of both to al dente, then drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
The Rest of the Dish: eyeball these ingredients – they need not be precisely measured…In a very large bowl, combine one medium diced red bell pepper, 1 cup chopped scallions, 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives, 1-1/2 cups quartered grape tomatoes, 1-1/2 cups crumbled Sheep’s milk feta, and 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley. Add the drained pasta and toss. Then pour the dressing over this and toss again to coat evenly.
Can be served at once, at room temperature, or chilled for future enjoyment. Best brought to room temperature again, where the flavors can really stand out.