In summer our cooking slows way down. We grill meats and back our starch intake down to cold pasta or potato salads. The garden gives us herbs and tomatoes, and lots of ’em, so it’s not unusual for dinner to consist of a protein, fresh sliced tomatoes and a salad incorporating herbs of one variety or another. This is one of our favorites:
Nana’s Penne with Basil
Early in the day – Bring 2 quarts of salted water to boil in a large kettle. While the water is coming to the boil
Mix together in a medium serving bowl:
3/4 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
1 finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Leave the dressing flavors to meld. Cook one half of a 12 oz. package of penne (or another macaroni shape of your choice) in the boiling water, according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until the pasta is cool to the touch. Mix cooled pasta into dressing, coating thoroughly.
Adjust seasonings to your taste.
At this point I sometimes add a couple of roughly chopped hard boiled eggs. They aren’t necessary, but give a special richness to the dish.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 4 servings.
Any leftover salad can be refrigerated overnight. More than 24 hours is not advisable since the dressing is almost completely absorbed and the freshness of the herbs is lost.