Posted by: tinkande | August 27, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad with Chicken Sausage

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This is one of our favorite summertime pasta salads. It’s different from a traditional pasta salad and it features lots of our favorite Italian ingredients. This is a great salad to make when tomatoes are in peak season, and it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser at cookouts! The original recipe doesn’t call for chicken sausage, but I added it this time to make a one-bowl dinner.  I also supplemented the store-bought ripe tomatoes with some fresh grape tomatoes from a coworker’s garden.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad with Chicken Sausage
Source: Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook
Serves 6-8

1/2 pound fusilli (or rotini) pasta
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced (halved grape tomatoes are also great)
3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1 package pre-cooked chicken sausage (we like Aidells)

For the dressing:

5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Meanwhile, re-heat the chicken sausage according to the directions on the package. Allow to cool slightly and then slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, sausage, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.

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