There is no grill party in Germany without a pasta salad. Really! I don’t think I’ve ever been to one, where there wasn’t any. Understandable, I think. You need some starch together with your meats and pasta is something everybody likes. I could do with only bread if necessary (I am really a bread person) but for many only having bread tends to be boring. So when grilling, don’t forget the pasta salad.
I am invited to a birthday grill party in August and I was asked to bring a pasta salad. I know that they expect me to bring the usual salad you get around here: pasta with mayonnaise, peas, ham and so on but I don’t intend to do that. Not that I don’t eat it when I see it somewhere, but if there is one thing I hate when invited to a party or something in the village here is eating the same stuff over and over again.
No kidding! If you go to a bigger event like a wedding or silver wedding you will always get the same stuff from the same caterer, if you go to a birthday or grill party where people are asked to bring food, you can be sure to always eat the same pasta salad, the same potato salad, the same layered salad and so on. And if you go to a coffee and cake afternoon somewhere, than you will for sure always eat the same cakes. They have been doing this for years, even before I moved here. I have the impression that sometimes in the 70’s or 80’s these particular salads and cakes came into fashion. And since then people have been doing them again and again. What I cannot understand is why other kind of salads or cakes never come into fashion.
If I am asked to bring something, either cake or salad I always try to avoid asking too many questions. If I do, than I will for sure be told to bring a particular cake or salad. I don’t want that, so I don’t ask and I make whatever I feel like making. And it always tastes good and people like it even if they are a bit “uncomfortable” about it at first. This broccoli salad from 101 Cookbooks that I made last year for a neighbour’s moving-in grill party was a hit, I gave the recipe several different people and everybody had something to say about it. All positive.
So here is the salad that I will bring to the party in August. No mayonnaise, no peas, no ham… Instead you get mozzarella, mushrooms, tomatoes and arugula. See how you like that, people! 🙂
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz pasta (I used macaroni)
- 7 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 100 ml/ ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tablespoons water
- a large bunch basil
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz mozzarella
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz cherry tomatoes
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz button mushrooms
- 1 handful arugula
- roasted pine nuts, optional
- Cook the pasta, drain it well, place back in the pot and mix with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Leave to cool.
- Place the vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, olive oil, water and the basil leaves in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour over the pasta, mix well and leave to marinate for 1 or 2 hours.
- Chop the mozzarella into small cubes, halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes, chop the mushrooms into fine slices. Remove the stems from the arugula and chop the salad roughly.
- Mix everything together and adjust the taste with more salt and pepper and maybe 1 extra tablespoon of vinegar. You can sprinkle some roasted pine nuts on top if you wish.