Mediterranean Pasta Salad
This is one of my absolute favourite salads of all time. It is very simple to make and is also quite healthy, compared with some of its mayonnaise-based counterparts.
This is an ideal salad to have ready in advance for a special occasion, or as an accompaniment to a summer barbecue.
YOU WILL NEED
12oz/350g penne pasta
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
1 box cherry tomatoes
3-4 tbsps basil pesto
1oz/25g grated Parmesan cheese
1oz/25g pitted black olives
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/Gas Mark 4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add a little drizzle of olive oil, which will stop the pasta from sticking.
Plunge the pasta into the boiling water and boil according to the packet instructions.
When the pasta is cooked, strain it in a large colander and leave it under cold running water until the pasta has completely cooled down. Drain the pasta well and keep to one side until required.
Meanwhile, cut the vegetables (peppers, red onion and courgette) into even, bite-sized portions and spread out on a baking tray with the cherry tomatoes.
Season with a little salt and pepper, drizzle with a little oil and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until all of the vegetables have softened completely.
Allow the vegetables to cool.
Mix the roasted vegetables and the chilled pasta together, then mix in some seasoning and the basil pesto. Stir until the pesto has completely coated all of the vegetables.
Arrange the salad in a large serving bowl and scatter with the grated Parmesan cheese and the black olives. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and season as required.