This cold pasta is a summer festival in a bowl: delicious, crunchy sweet corn, earthy pan-roasted zucchini, refreshing fresh herbs, salty feta cheese… and most of all, the amazingly flavorful heirlooms. The Black Russian, Pruden’s Purple or any red heirloom beefsteak tomatoes will be marvelous in this dish.
Since the pasta has to stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes (preferably 30) for all the flavors to mingle, the pasta will absorb more liquid and have a tendency to lose its al dente-ness. Undercooking the pasta by one minute will guarantee yours stays toothy.
Food & wine pairing: Piedmont, Dolcetto d’Alba with tomato and zucchini pasta salad
A medium-bodied red with good acidity, like a Dolcetto d’Alba or a Barbera (both from Piedmont), is ideal for this summery pasta. These two varietals are light enough to not overpower the dish but have enough vibrancy and depth to pair well with the diverse flavors of the vegetables and the tanginess of the cheese.
Pasta salad with heirloom tomatoes, pan-roasted zucchini, fresh corn and goat-milk feta
serves 4 to 6
active time: 45 min
For the pan-roasted zucchinis
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 baby zucchinis (about 6″ long) – ends trimmed and cut in 1/2″ dices
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the pasta
- 2 ears fresh sweet corn – husks removed
- 2 garlic cloves – skinned and crushed (use a microplane grater)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs (905 g) red, purple or black heirloom tomatoes – seeded and cut in 1/2″ dices
- 1 bunch fresh chives – cut in 1/4″ slices (use kitchen scissors)
- 24 large basil leaves – torn in 1″ pieces
- 1 tablespoon sea salt for the pasta water
- 1 lb (455 g) mezzi rigatoni, penne rigate, ziti or ditali pasta
- 7 oz (200 g) goat milk feta cheese – crumbled
- small basil leaves as garnish
- Step 1: Heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and zucchinis. Sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden-brown, tossing only occasionally. Sprinkle with the salt. Toss again and transfer to a bowl to cool. Set aside.
- Step 2: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the corn and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from pot and transfer to a bowl filled with cold water. As soon as the corn has cooled, transfer to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Using a sharp knife, shave the kernels from the corn. Set aside.
- Step 3: In a large bowl, place the garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil. Whisk until well blended. Add the corn, tomatoes, chives and basil. Toss until well mixed and set aside.
- Step 4: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions, until very al dente – about 1 minute less than what package calls for. Drain and rinse with cold water until cooled. Shake off the excess water. Add to the tomato mixture. Mix well and let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
- Step 5: When ready to serve – Add the pan-roasted zucchini to the pasta and stir well. Spoon pasta into individual bowls or a large serving platter. Crumble the feta on top and garnish with small basil leaves. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired. Finish with freshly ground black pepper and serve.
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A magnificent summer salad, bursting with seasonal flavor and perfect for a picnic or BBQ!
Viviane, what a pretty salad! Congratulations on the top 9!
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A huge thank you to everyone for your comments – I was thrilled to have made it to Top 9 with this pasta salad. It’s one of my favorite summer meals… Wishing everyone to enjoy every last little morsel of summer!
So beautiful, Vivienne!
I love salad! This looks so easy to make and it looks super duper delicious!
I heart your description …. “a summer festival in a bowl.” I’m SOLD! 😀
Congratulations on Top 9!
This pasta salad looks beautiful and delicious!
Congrats on the top 9! These look soooooo good!!
SO gorgeous, fresh and delicious!!! Congrats on the Top 9 this morning…truly deserving!!!
Heirloom tomatoes – sounds nice. Lovely salad – very pretty, Viviane! 🙂
What a gorgeous pasta salad!
Delicious and your photos are incredible! Thanks for sharing!
Wow that looks and sounds amazing! Talk about seasonal food at its best : )
This pasta salad is just so pretty!! I love how colorful and light it is. This would be perfect to bring to my next potluck lunch at work!
The first time I had goat milk feta was in Ireland and I was shocked at how much sweeter it was. What a great way to use it- I’m going to go pick some up.
Kristin, I so agree with you… I love the sweetness and delicate flavor of goat milk feta!
So very pretty and enticing. And, You have the most amazing collection of serving pieces!
This recipe could not have come at a better time. I’m presently staring at a kitchen counter full of random vegetables that I had (until now) no idea what to do with. Thank you for giving me direction. This looks great.
El, I’m so glad… Enjoy your “random veggies” pasta salad!
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Viviane, this is such a beautiful dish, and not only does it look pretty but so fresh, colorful and delicious! Great photography by the way, making this salad even more tasty! Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful day!
You’re welcome Sandra! Thank you so much for all your kind words.