Italian pasta salad recipe

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A recipe for a typical Italian pasta salad. This salad can be refrigerated and eaten the next day. Main ingredients are the fussili or farfalle, capers, black olives, tomatoes and basil. The secret in making pasta salads is using fresh, good quality ingredients, a nice dressing and refrigerating the salad for at least 2 hours before serving, so that the flavors develop. A salad dressing for this recipe is included but you can use a ready made Italian dressing if you like
Preparation time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 5 minutes, Serves: 4 



Ingredients

For the pasta salad
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
15 - 20 black olives (Kalamata or similar), seed removed and finely diced
2 Tbsp small sized capers (in brine)
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tomatoes, skin removed and finely diced

Note: before dicing the tomatoes, make an incision and squeeze them in your palms to remove most of the juice

1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed and any water drained
4 or 5 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes and then finely diced
0.75 lb (300 g) fussili (corkscrew) or farfalle (bow ties) pasta, cooked al dente

For the salad dressing
8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1 tsp dresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp dried oregano)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste

Directions

Add the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl, pour over hot water and let them for about 15 minutes.

Cook the pasta (fussili or farfalle) in lots of salted boiling water al dente. Drain, wash with cold water and drain well. Set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Wash them well, peel, seed and dice where needed. Your vegetables should be diced to roughly 1/3 to 1/4 of an inch cubes. It is important though to dice all of them to the same size.

In a bowl large enough to hold the pasta and vegetables, pour the pasta and then the vegatables on top.

Make the salad dressing by putting all ingredients in a blended and mixing until smooth and creamy. Taste the dressing and adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the salad dressing over the pasta salad and using your hands or a spoon, mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well coated with the dressing. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop and serve cold.
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