Is there anything better than a warm pasta salad dish?
This linguine salad is as easy as boiling water and tossing in a few key ingredients, like tomatoes and parmesan.
The essential secret for a successful pasta salad is cooking the pasta correctly, until it is al dente, and then tossing it with a delightful, freshly-cooked tomato sauce.
This linguine salad is truly the easiest, breeziest, and yummiest pasta salad and it’s perfect when you want to delight and dazzle at the next family get-together without spending all day in the kitchen.
Read on to make the best linguine salad. Bon appetit!
The Best Linguine Salad
There are a lot of pasta salads out there, but here is why you should memorize this one: the “dressing” is easily made from the ingredients you likely already have in your pantry and you just have to add some fresh tomatoes.
Plus, if you make this for your family or a picnic, there is no need to worry about it sitting around, as this pasta salad will be gone in a seconds.
This recipe is based on formula that you can easily adapt it with your favorite mix-ins.
You love olives? You can add these as well. Sun-dried tomatoes can be used as well, and for some extra freshness you can add some crumbled feta cheese.
My favorite thing about this salad is that the whole recipe takes only 30 minutes from start to finish.
It is the perfect recipe for a last-minute get together for a quick lunch or a dinner side to eat through the week.
This pasta salad is bursting with Mediterranean flavors and begging for an extra serving is something you can expect from your household members.
The Best Formula For Linguine Salad
Here is an easy way to make sure your pasta salad feels fresh and robust rather than skimpy on the mix-ins: for every 8 oz of dried pasta, plan to add 1lb of mix-ins.
I find this is the best formula. Anything lighter on the additions will make your pasta feel drier than you expect, and anything above – well it is going to be a complete fail rather than delicious pasta salad.
Remember the pasta will plump as it cooks (so it will feel like you have much more in the end) and you want pasta salad to have a generous combination of pasta and add-ins. So trust me on this one!
Making Linguine Pasta Salad: Key Steps
I have made many pasta salads with different mix-ins. I always follow these rules as this ensure the perfectly cooked and assembled pasta salad.
This may be an easy recipe, but you still don’t want to wind up wasting a half hour of your time on a pasta that falls short of your expectations. So follow these tips for best results.
Cooking Your Pasta
Is there anything more simple than cooking a pot of pasta? The only thing you have to do is to boil water, right?
Well, yes, that is the basic outline, but it’s still possible to make mistakes when it comes to a good bowl of noodley goodness.
Here are a few other helpful tricks that will ensure you have a perfectly cooked pasta every time:
- Choose a high-quality pasta: You do not have to choose the pasta that is the most expensive or the cheapest, but go with a middle range price.
- Use the best pot when cooking the pasta: Make sure you choose a pot that is large enough so that water can boil rapidly without spilling over and so that the pasta has a plenty of room.
- Use the right amount of water: the classic way to cook pasta is in lots of salty boiling water. The usual portions are 4-6 quart of water and 1-2 tbsp of salt. The pasta water needs to be ”salty like the sea” and it is not an exaggeration because this season the pasta from the inside out.
- Cook the past according to package directions: These always state the “al dente” cooking time and the “al dente” pasta is perfect for the salads. It will not be too firm or over cooked.
Even after your pasta has been cooked to perfection, there’s still a little more you can do to ensure that your pasta salad (or frankly, any pasta dish) becomes absolute perfection.
Once you cook your pasta, here are some other things to consider:
Make sure your add-ins are the same size: For this one I used fresh cherry tomatoes. When cutting these make sure they are cut to the same size, because this makes salad easy to eat and looks better.
“Shock” the pasta: Unlike potatoes which love to be seasoned while they’re warm, if you combine warm pasta with any kind of sauce, dressing, or add-ins, the pasta will simply soak all the liquid and make your pasta salad dry.
Still, you cannot dry pasta on the air, as it will stick. So, the ideal solution is to drain the pasta and submerge in an ice-cold bath (equal parts of ice and water). This will cool the pasta fast without making it sticky.
“Rest” the pasta: After you have cooked the pasta and given it a cold bath, it is time to combine it with the tomatoes and give it some rest.
But the poor thing has been through a lot and needs some resting. The pasta salad will turn out best if it is chilled for 30 minutes before serving.
One last thing before we get into making a delicious linguine pasta salad.
Your linguine salad will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, and yes, it can be made ahead. You may want to separate the cooked tomatoes and pasta into different containers and store the pasta that way, however.
How To Make A Linguine Salad
Gather your ingredients.
Heat 6 quarts of water in a saucepot. Season the water with salt.
Once the water boils, add pasta and cook it according to the package directions, until al dente. Submerge in an ice bath after cooking.
Make the tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, gently stirring, until the tomatoes are soft.
Remove from the heat and stir in vinegar.
Add pasta and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
Add basil and top with cheese.
Chill the pasta in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
- 1lb. linguine pasta
- 1 tbsp salt (for pasta water)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 15-20 basil leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Heat 6 quarts of water in a saucepot. Season the water with salt.
- Once the water boils, add pasta and cook it according to the package directions, until al dente. Submerge in an ice bath after cooking.
- Make the tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, gently stirring, until the tomatoes are soft.
- Remove from the heat and stir in vinegar.
- Add pasta and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add basil and top with cheese.
- Chill the pasta in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
You can save time by beginning to cook the tomatoes when your pasta is nearly done cooking.
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