cool summer pasta salads

It’s been really hot here lately, and I’ve been cooking less. I’m looking around for more cool pasta salads like this. The nice thing about pasta Caprese for me is that I just wing it. I used to search for recipes, but it’s way more fun to improvise, taste, and adjust as I’m going.

It’s tough to go wrong when summer tomatoes are at their peak. Still, I think too much raw garlic can ruin the dish, so I roughly chop mine and then saute it in some extra virgin olive oil. Then the oil is infused with the flavor of the garlic. I usually finish the dish with a bit of fancy balsamic vinegar too. That dash of richness brings everything together well. Good salt is also important.

I’m lucky when it comes to the cheese because there are some spots nearby my office where I can get the fresh stuff. I’m not talking about the fresh mozzarella you get in the supermarket. I’m talking about Italian delis where they make their own cheese and have it still sitting in water. That’s the good stuff. If you haven’t tried mozzarella so fresh that it’s still warm or at room temperature because it was made so recently, you’re in for a treat some day.

44 thoughts on “cool summer pasta salads

  1. We have a local Italian deli near my parent's house in Queens that makes the fresh mozzarella in house. It is quite possibly the best thing in the world. Salty, creamy, milky heaven. I had to settle for what Whole Foods had on sale but it was pretty dang good. I love this pasta dish. We are so on the same page.

  2. This looks delicious and I hope everyone will try deli-style fresh mozzarella. Have you ever tried using the microwave to flavor your oils? I use it because it saves the washing of another pan and doesn't heat the kitchen. I hope you are having a great day.

  3. This is why I miss living near NYC! Would love to have some freshly made mozzarella right now. We practically exist on tomato salads during the summertime, but I love the idea of making it into a pasta (more carbs the better!).

  4. love this pasta – it has my name all over it! I agree on the cheese too – fresh cheese is the best! We are learning how to make our own Burrata for our culinary school graduation next month!

  5. I've made this type of pasta salad before and it is super yummy! For a twist, you can add chopped onions, zucchini and your fave zesty Italian dressing. I like to make this kicked up version when my friends come over and they all love it 🙂 As always, love the pictures!

  6. lone acorn: definitely. thanks for visitingjoanne: you must be able to get great cheese in queens.peachkins: thanksbarbara: i would love to try this kind of dish in italymary: great idea about using the microwaveavanika: thanks for stopping bykitchenwitch: we're spoiled here in the nyc arearosie: definitelyphyllis: yeah, but i know some places even far out in jersey where you can get it freshly made… definitely worth searching for itgaby: wow, that sounds coolyasmeen: thanksjoanna: thanks about the photos!

  7. Yum!! I love anything caprese. The nice things about ir is that you don't really need a recipe for it. There's this Italian Deli near my home I go to for the fresh stuff. I think it's been there longer than I've been in the US which is about 20 years. So they must be doing something right. 😉

  8. I love salads like this and I agree that fresh garlic is rather harsh.I wish I could find the fresh mozz around here, but right now I'm just happy to have the home grown tomatoes, so I can make your salad!

  9. I was surprised at how much better I like the grocery store fresh mozzarella cheese, now I need to go find a place that sells the real deal. Yummy looking salad!

  10. yummm…Reminds of the mozzarella at Fiore's.Can you recommend a good balsamic vinegar? One that I can use as salad dressing? I don't how to distinguish a 'good quality' balsamic – besides the price being expensive.

  11. jenn: sounds like a good spotangie: definitelyjen: i haven't tried that, but it sounds coolpandalicious: i agreelynda: thanks for visitinglara: you can't beat the places where they make their ownsuzanne: oh man, fiore's is the best… i'm not sure i know a great balsamic vinegar by name. i use some stuff i got at a farmer's market once — they guys made their own. i'd suggest just going to a great shop like rafetto's in nyc on houston street or maybe di palo's in little italy and asking them to recommend something.chef fresco: definitely

  12. drool…this is my staple. Tomatoes, basil, fresh mozza or goat cheese and pasta al dente…with EVO everything is great. Love it cold too….beautiful!

  13. marguerite: thanks for visitingcatherine: no problem… thanks for visiting my blog tooparita: thanks for visitingjudy: definitely, and thankssuzanne: no problemburpandslurp: yeah, nyc is greattrish: thanks for visiting

  14. Yum! I used to work in an art gallery on Sullivan Street across from Joe's Dairy (?) where they smoked mozzarella. Wow! Here I have to settle for the store-bought. This is really the perfect summer dish!

  15. Yum – this is similar to one of our all time fav summer dishes, a (Bill Grainger) recipe for cold diced tomatoes with garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar etc on top of hot pasta, with freshly shaved parmesan. And I know what you mean about delis, once you get real cheese, can't go back!

  16. I made some purple basil-white wine vinegar last week, and your post inspired me to use it in a pasta-chicken salad. (Threw some fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes into the salad, too.) It's chilling right now and is going to be dinner. Thanks for the inspiration

  17. That mozarella looks amazing!Funny, just last night I made an orzo salad with tomatoes, green pepper and bsil: these pasta salads are perfect for the summer days!

  18. erica: nice…nancy: oh man, that vinegar sounds greaterica (two erica's?): thankselly: yeah, i do think i've had the buffalo kindolga: right, I could pretty much eat this kind of thing all summer longstephchows: definitely

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