Great Performances Hospitality at Home Summer Pasta Salads
Introduction I like to make summer entertaining as bright and colorful - and as effortless - as possible. Fresh and healthy are also top priorities. Summer farm stand produce is the inspiration behind these pasta recipes. By all means, adjust them to what you find in your local farm stand, green market or CSA. As for the pasta shapes, for these room temperature dishes, I suggest short pastas such as gemelli, rotelle, radiator and other bite sized varieties. I would simply avoid tube pastas such as penne or rigatoni, and long pastas such as spaghetti or fettuccine. These can be made one day ahead, with only minor last-minute assembly, leaving you to spend time with your guests and not in the kitchen at mealtime. If you are making ahead, toss cooked pasta in olive oil and store separately from garnishes. When ready to serve, toss only about 2/3 of the vegetable garnishes into the pasta, leaving the remaining garnish to arrange over the top or around the sides. The exception is the pasta with pesto, for which all the roasted cherry tomatoes should be arranged over or around the pasts, as opposed to mixed in. As with most dishes made to be enjoyed at room temperature, if making ahead, we suggest removing food from the refrigerator about an hour before serving. The flavors will come to life more readily when not ice cold.
Finally, arrange pasta on serving platters rather than in deep bowls. This enables you to feature the vegetable garnishes on top, rather than having all the best bits get lost at the bottom.
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