This was a dish I originally planned to take for a picnic in the park with our friends and neighbors. However, it seemed easier to invite them to our home, and to serve directly from the kitchen, as opposed to carrying everything a block away to our local green space. I thought the food was very good, but the best thing by far, was the fabulous company, the conversation, and the fact that our kids played so well together, leaving the adults to actually formulate complete sentences, and follow ideas through to their completion.
I served this salad in individual dishes, having anticipated pulling them out of a picnic basket. I think this pasta salad would taste good anywhere and with most main dishes, but I love the idea of it outdoors - picnic, tailgate, beach, park, forest, or kitchen table - enjoy!
LEMON PASTA SALAD WITH TOMATOES AND FETA
4 to 7 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
12 ounces pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell peppers
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 cup chopped green onions
Whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and lemon peel in a small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse pasta with cold water to cool quickly and drain again. Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add tomatoes, bell peppers, feta cheese, and green onions. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2003