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Warm Pasta Salad with Basil Pesto, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

It’s summer and the heat is on. Here in Lake Mary, the weather has had its ups and downs. In the mornings the sun shines brightly, by midday, the clouds appear, offering us a shield from the blazing sun. Then, by one in the afternoon the skies open and we are showered with cooling rain. So, to make the day sunny during the rain, I love my summery pasta salad, with the fresh taste of basil, sweet vine ripened tomatoes and creamy mozzarella.

Photography by Heaven on Hearth

For the pasta:
3 cups dry Rotini pasta
1 gallon water
3 vegetable bouillon cubes (1 cube = 1 cup broth)
1 tablespoon salt

For the salad:
6 tablespoons Basil Pesto
3 medium sized tomatoes on the vine cut in half then in quarters
5 basil leaves, chiffonade
4 mozzarella bocconcini balls, cut in half and then in eighths

In a large pot, over high heat, bring 1 gallon water with 3 vegetable bouillon cubes and 1 tablespoon of salt to a rolling boil. This should take about 16 – 18 minutes. I like putting the bouillon cubes in the water so that the pasta has more flavor and it adds such a wonderfully full taste to the dish. 

Once the water has come to a boil, add the Rotini pasta and cook until al dente. Please look at the directions on the box. I like to check the pasta, just in case it may need to be cooked a bit longer.
The pasta should still have a nice bite, but shouldn’t have a raw flour taste. If you feel it’s not done, just boil a bit longer.
Bocconcini and Tomatoes
While the water is coming to a boil, rinse tomatoes and cut in half then in quarters, as well as the bocconcini. Cut the bocconcini in slightly smaller pieces.

The pasta should be ready by then, so drain the pasta. Once drained, add 6 tablespoons of Basil pesto and toss, then add the tomatoes and bocconcini and toss again. This pasta salad is also delicious when served chilled. This is such a great summer salad, the vibrant green of the pesto and the rich red of the tomato…it certainly lifts your spirit on a rainy day. 
Enjoying the last bite
Some shaved Parmesan on top will add a delicious salty kick to the dish. This serves for 4. Voilà. Grilled chicken or shrimp would go beautifully with this pasta salad. Bon Appétit!

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