Classic Pasta Salad With Mozzarella, Avocado and Basil
With its colorful jumble of tomatoes, avocado, olives, mozzarella and cucumber, this has everything you’ve ever wanted in a pasta salad. But feel free to customize the ingredients to suit your own tastes (see Tip), and to add lemon and salt to the dressing to taste. As long as you don’t overcook the pasta, and add it while still hot to the dressing, you really can’t go wrong. Make this a few hours ahead so the flavors have a chance to meld, but be sure not to add the avocado until just before serving.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 3tablespoons minced shallot or red onion
- 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- ¼teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Fine sea salt, as needed
- 1pound short pasta, such as campanelle, fusilli or farfalle
- 1ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½cup sliced cucumber
- 1pound fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size cubes
- ¼cup shaved Parmesan
- ¼cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Step 1To prepare the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk together shallot, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in oil. Taste and add more salt and-or lemon juice if needed.
Step 2Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until it is just al dente, usually a minute less than the package instructions. Drain well. While still warm, add the pasta to the bowl with the dressing and toss well. Let pasta cool, soaking up the dressing.
Step 3In a medium bowl, gently toss together avocado, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Step 4Just before serving, add tomato, cucumber, mozzarella and Parmesan to the bowl with the pasta and toss well. Gently fold in avocado and basil.
Step 5Drizzle with olive oil, cracked black pepper and salt to taste before serving.