Freedom and Pasta Salad

I’m baaack.  Did ya miss me?  I’ve been swimming in work-work and home-work lately.  Luckily my FOURTH tax season finally come to an end and to make things even sweeter I am off of school all this week.  Amen. Hallelujah.

This freedom in my schedule means two things.  1. I can no longer use my busy life as an excuse to avoid the pile of laundry growing out of my closet, through the living room, and into the laundry room.  It’s a work in progress.  2. I have a lot more free time and energy to get busy in the kitchen!  Laundry = bad, cooking = good.  If only we could invent disposable clothes.  This way you can stay trendy and never have to match 1800 socks.  Like we have time for that sort of thing.  Really.

With my free time from school last night I decided to whip up something fresh and light.  I’m trying to be less drawn to things that are mostly fried and full of cheese.  At least this meal was NOT fried.  I’m working on it people.

Here is what you will need to make what I call, Perfect Pasta Salad.  You don’t have to agree on the perfect part.  Just shut up and eat it.

  • 1 1/2 cups of dry whole wheat pasta (ziti, rotini, shells, it’s up to you)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of basil pesto
  • 1 lemon’s zest (3-4 tsp of lemon juice)
  • 8 oz. of mozzarella (I buy the pearls because I’m lazy)
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 20-25 pepperoni slices

This recipe leaves room for tweaking.  I made this dish on a whim, a hope, and a prayer.  So adjust ingredients until you get the ratio of your dreams.  Start by boiling water for your pasta.

Next, and this step is crucial to the integrity of your dish and your title as cook, pour a serious glass of wine and take a slow and satisfying sip.

Red, white, cheap, expensive, carbonated, or not, it does not matter.  If you are not into wine, opt for beer, root beer, or Shirley temple.  Just try to enjoy yourself.  Cooking should be like therapy only cheaper.  And you get to eat at the end.  I’m babbling now.  I think it has something to do with my repressed childhood feelings of inadequacy.  Freud? Anyone?  Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

While your water is heating up, zest the rhine of one lemon.

Then chop the lemon in half.

Squeeze about 3-4 teaspoons of lemon juice into a bowl.

Next add your pesto.

Then dump in your olive oil and stir it all up.

Now dip your finger in and give it a taste.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Try not to drink this straight from your bowl  but if you do, just repeat the above steps.

Next, chop your washed cherry tomatoes into halves.

Your pasta should be cooked by now.  Drain your pasta and rinse it with cool water then place it in a bowl.  This will stop the cooking process and keep the mozzarella from melting.

Add your cherry tomatoes.

Then add your mozzarella.

Next, add the lemon zest.  The amount of zest will depend on your preference for tartness.  It balances well with the basil in the pesto.

Now pour your basil, lemon, oil mixture onto your pasta.

You could certainly stop here and mix your ingredients if you are not the kind of person who like to eat meat.  I’m not a really big fan of meat myself.  I eat it. I’m just not always in the mood for flesh.  If you are in the mood for a lil carnivore action, chop up a few slices of pepperoni.  You could even go healthy and make this turkey pepperoni.  But I’m a purist and like the real stuff.

Throw it in the bowl with the other good stuff.

Now lightly toss this mixture together.

Serve this up with a turkey sandwich or a grilled chicken breast.  I had a rotisserie chicken waiting to be taken advantage of sitting in my fridge.


 Eat it up!  It tastes even better the next day.  Enjoy, my hungry friends!

After I enjoyed with yummy meal with my favorite stuffed husband, I got to spend a little cuddle time with my two other loves.

They melt my heart everytime.  Exept when they poop and I step in it, then walk around the apartment with poop on my shoe for five minutes before I realize that I am the source of that fowl smell.  Thanks Chloe.

I’ll be back later this week to share a super special surprise I have in the works!

Peace, love, and perfect pasta salad~

The Hungry Wife