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Kristina’s Simple Pasta Salad

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 as a side


  • 1 lb. shells
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 bunch scallions (finely diced red onion is nice, too)
  • 3 roasted red peppers (or used jarred)
  • 2 balls (large size) or a small tub of ciliegine mozzarella
  • 1 bunch basil
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook about 8 minutes or until done but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, place pine nuts in a small skillet over low heat. Toast, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat when evenly golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Cut grape tomatoes in half lengthwise. Remove ends from scallions and discard. Chop thinly, using mostly the white and pale green parts (some of the dark green is ok, too). Chop the roasted red peppers into small strips. Cut the mozzarella into cubes about the same size as the cherry tomatoes (or if you are using the ciliegine, use them whole or slice in half). Set aside.
  4. Place pasta in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over pasta until nicely coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add all of the prepared ingredients. Remove tiny leaves from basil stems and add directly to the bowl. Stack four to five larger basil leaves on top of one another. Roll into a tight spiral, then cut into thin strips. Add to the bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the top of the whole mixture starting with just one half. Add a few handfuls of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Toss gently with a large spoon. Taste, add more salt, pepper, olive oil or lemon juice if necessary.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes