Summer and pasta salad go hand-in-hand. This is a simple, make-ahead pasta salad that highlights the delicious summer tomatoes & asparagus, fresh sweet basil and creamy feta cheese. You can make it more of a main entree as well by adding grilled chicken or shrimp.
This pasta salad is best if made a day in advance as the flavors really develop over night.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta to the water and cook according to the time on the box – you will want the pasta to be al dente.
Break the ends off of the asparagus, discarding the bottoms. Cut the asparagus into bite size pieces, around 1 inch long. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for a few minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Watch for the color to change – when it starts to turn bright green, take off the heat and drain. You just want to cook it slightly, but keeping it crisp. Set to the side.
Chop the sundried tomatoes into bite size pieces, and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. In a large mixing bowl, add the tomatoes and asparagus. Sprinkle with a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese.
Next, add the Paul Newman dressing and Garlic Expressions. Add enough to coat the ingredients, but you will need to adjust according to taste and dryness when the pasta is added. Just be sure to add small amounts at a time
– you can always add more, but it’s a bit difficult to remove the dressing!
When the pasta is done cooking, add it to the large mixing bowl and combine with the tomatoes and asparagus. Mix well, adding the dressings to your liking. When the pasta is cool, you can add the chopped basil and feta. The best way to cut the basil is to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them, and then cut the rolled log with a sharp knife. Mix all the ingredients together, again adding more dressing if needed.
Keep covered in the refrigerator over night, and when you’re getting ready to serve, mix all the ingredients again, making sure to scoop from the bottom. Add more dressing if needed, salt & pepper. Serve cold or room temperature.