posted in Life & Home
I made this salad to deliver to a friend’s house for dinner the other night. It was a blazing hot 95 degrees and nobody in their right mind wanted to turn on an oven that day. I realllllllly wanted to roast the tomatoes in this dish because I think it tastes so much better, but I eyed my oven like it was a mortal enemy and knew I couldn’t do it.
So instead I turned on my little-bitty toaster oven and roasted these puppies up. And I’m so glad I did. Roasting the little tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper makes this pasta salad way better than your typical potluck fare. And, because I’m not a mayonnaise fan, I opted to keep this version light and healthy with an Italian vinaigrette dressing. Perfect for a 95-degree day.
The secret weapon in this dish is tossing all the ingredients in a little bit of the bacon rendering (i.e., fat). Not the whole pan of fat. But after you cook the bacon and drain most of the fat, you toss this in about a tablespoon of the drippings and get all the good little bits off the bottom of the pan. Yessir, you will thank me for that tip.
This is the perfect side dish, but honestly, I threw in some grilled chicken and made it a meal. I delivered some fresh strawberries and cantaloupe with it and a quart of our famous No-Churn Tuxedo ice cream since this meal happened to be for a single dad. I got the sweetest pic back of a bunch of empty containers and happy kids, so I think it was a hit.
Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. Pasta. Do it.
Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.
The BEST BLT Pasta Salad
We prefer this cold, but you can eat it warm, cold or anywhere in between. It’s even better the second day!
FOR THE ROASTED TOMATOES:
2 (10 oz) containers cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
Sprinkle of dried oregano
FOR THE PASTA SALAD:
1 lb dried pasta (I used rigatoni)
1/2 pound bacon
2 cups garlic roasted cherry tomatoes from above
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup baby arugula or spinach
1 cup your favorite Italian dressing
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine tomatoes with olive oil and seasonings. Pour onto a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and have burst slightly.
Boil pasta until al dente (according to package directions). Drain pasta and toss with half of the Italian dressing. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Cook bacon on the stovetop. Remove from pan and drain all but 1-2 tablespoons drippings. Pour pasta back in pan and toss to coat. Add arugula, crumbled bacon, chopped herbs and roasted tomatoes. Toss to combine, adding more vinaigrette if desired. Serve warm temperature or chilled.
Serves 6-8 (depending on whether it’s a meal or side).