With its jumble of tomatoes, avocado, mozzarella and cucumber, this has all you've ever wanted in a pasta salad. Make the dish a few hours ahead so the flavors have a chance to meld — but hold off on adding the avocado until just before serving.
Classic Pasta Salad With Mozzarella, Avocado and Basil
Serves 8 to 10.
Note: From Melissa Clark of the New York Times.
For the dressing:
• 3 tbsp. minced shallot or red onion
• 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
• 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste
• 1/4 tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste
• 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
For the salad:
• Fine sea salt
• 1 lb. short pasta, such as campanelle, fusilli or farfalle
• 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 c. sliced cucumber
• 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size cubes
• 1/4 c. shaved Parmesan
• 1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
To prepare the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together shallot, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in oil. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice, if needed.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until it is just al dente, usually a minute less than the package instructions. Drain well. While still warm, add the pasta to the bowl with dressing and toss well. Let pasta cool, soaking up the dressing.
In a medium bowl, gently toss together avocado, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Just before serving, add tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella and Parmesan to the bowl with the pasta, and toss well. Gently fold in avocado and basil.
Drizzle with olive oil, cracked black pepper and salt to taste before serving.