Easy Summer Pasta

I love pasta.  In fact, I love it so much that I often avoid it, because I have zero self control and could easily eat an entire pound of it by myself.  It's shameful, really.  (BTW — shame is often delicious.)

Now that I have my confession out of the way, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite summer pasta dishes — light, bright, lemony, and perfect when produce is abundant and fresh.  It's essentially a thirty-minute meal (less than 30, actually), and what I love best is that this dish is just as good served cold as it is hot.  In fact, it might even be better.  You can make it and decide for yourself.

1 pound of pasta, preferably fusilli or gemelli
1 8oz container of fresh mozzarella pearls
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 1/2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil plus more to drizzle
Juice of 1 - 2 lemons
Kosher salt & pepper to taste

This really couldn't be easier.  Cook the pasta in heavily salted water until not quite al dente — the water should taste like the ocean, as this is your one chance to season and flavor the pasta itself.

In a separate wide pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat.  Season the tomatoes with salt & pepper and add to the oil, warming them through.  Add the pasta, chicken stock, lemon juice, and toss the pasta, adding a little of the starchy pasta water to create a light broth.  When the pasta is al dente and the tomatoes have collapsed, transfer to a bowl.  Toss with the fresh scallions, basil, pine nuts and mozzarella, drizzle with olive oil and a splash of lemon, and serve!

Tip: If you decide to serve this dish cold, let the pasta cool before you add the mozzarella, so that it does not melt and stays firm in the cold pasta salad.


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