Penne Pasta Salad w/ Fresh Mozzarella and Heirloom Tomatoes

We’re back home after a wonderful week on the coast of South Carolina ………….
 ………….. with our daughter and her family living across the Atlantic in London, this time together in the summer is anticipated and dreamed of, all year long. We love just hanging out together, rain or shine, with no deadlines, no work schedules and minimal stress. We stay at Debordieu, a lovely golf and beach community and perhaps the best kept secret on the Carolina Coast.

For those who love a swinging, party lifestyle, Debordieu might be quite a bore ……….. but for us, it’s a little slice of peaceful paradise. There are seemingly endless miles of white sandy beaches to walk, talk and play on, crystal clear waves, sometimes gently lapping, sometimes pounding the shore, dolphins dancing joyfully in the shimmering surf, no neon, never a crowd …………… oh, and besides all this there’s miles upon miles of beautiful trails to bike in the early morning hours before the golfers are stirring – check out a few pictures of our last morning ride (and yes that is a REAL alligator!)  ……………..

It may sound crazy, but even on vacation, I LOVE to cook. In fact there’s almost nothing I enjoy more than having my family gathered around to share a yummy meal. While dinner might be a bit more involved, we usually eat a super simple lunch right on the beach, something light and fresh and easy to pack. Our favorite lunch this year was this Penne Pasta Salad w/ Fresh Mozzarella and Heirloom Tomatoes; uncomplicated and bursting with delicious summer flavor. Everyone loved it– when I opened the container at day’s end, there was nary a lone penne pasta nor a bite of tomato to be found!

Whether you’re on vacation or not, you’ll LOVE this salad. I have the feeling it’ll become a repeat, requested visitor at your table. It’s truly the essence of the delightful but fleeting summer season; with fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, lots of fresh basil, lightly dressed with olive oil, garlic and lemon zest ……………. enjoy it now, before summer and all its glorious produce slips away!

Penne Pasta Salad w/ Fresh Mozzarella and Heirloom Tomatoes

Ingredients:
1 pound penne pasta
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, I love to use heirloom, a mix of yellow and red but any good summer tomato is fine, I have also used grape, cherry, small heirlooms, they all work great
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained if in brine and diced in 1/2 inch cubes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
finely zested peel (yellow part only) from 1 medium lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except pasta in a non-reactive bowl large enough to holdthis mixture plus the cooked pasta. Let the sauce sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

2. Cook the pasta as directed on label and drain. Rinse with cool water. Toss the tomato mixture with the just cooked pasta. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper and serve. ENJOY!

Farewell, lovely Debordieu …………… till we meet again!


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