I guess you could say this pasta salad was inspired by the colors of the Italian flag. However, goat cheese is certainly not the first cheese that comes to mind when you think of Italian cheeses! Nevertheless, the flavors work so well together; the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes offsets the tang of the cheese. And the fresh basil that I picked from my patio garden adds such freshness to the dish. Serve it room temperature or cold and enjoy it as much as I did!
1 box of Barilla Piccolini Mini Rotelle (I used the zucchini and spinach rotelle, which gives it a lovely green color)
Cherry tomatoes, a good handful or two, halved
Fresh basil, gently torn
Goat cheese, about 2-3 ounces, at room temperature
Extra virgin olive oil
Cook the pasta until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, cut the tomatoes in half. Drain the pasta (you may want to reserve a little bit of the water to use when tossing the pasta with the rest of the ingredients).
In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the olive oil and chunks of the goat cheese. The hot pasta will melt the goat cheese slightly. Add in the tomatoes, basil and a bit of black pepper, to taste. If it seems too dry, add a small amount of the reserved pasta water. Gently toss to combine. Serve this dish at room temperature or cold.