Basil Marinated Cherry Tomato and Pasta Salad in Roasted Tomato and Pepper Sauce

One of the most dreaded question we women face is, “What’s for lunch?” Admit it. Pretty often, it’s not the house chores that get us. It’s the awful decision of making the lunch menu. And if you are a working person, who also runs the kitchen – more power to you! I feel your pain. We all have our own coping mechanisms… those unique solutions we all find to life’s pressing problems. My solution to the Lunch Question is a weekly session with the husband, where he is clearly told that if he doesn’t contribute ideas, he gets no food. Works like magic.

Something else that I have started doing, which works beautifully in this chaotic household is precooked meals. If I have an evening free, I do a quick set of precooked meals, and refrigerate or freeze them for the next few days. I make overnight breakfasts, pre-made salads, and simple chicken dishes. I also make and freeze our favourite sauces. One of them is the Roasted Tomato and Pepper Sauce. It’s criminally easy to make, really. And goes so well with pasta.

My simplest pasta salad recipe that has always been a hit is made with this sauce. The husband loves to take it to office for lunch, because his colleagues can’t get enough of it.

Basil Marinated Cherry Tomato and Pasta Salad in Roasted Tomato and Pepper Sauce

This recipe makes enough sauce for four portions of pasta salad

1 large red pepper
2 medium sized tomatoes
6-7 cloves of garlic
One small onion
5 large basil leaves
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp Olive oil
¼ tsp crushed black pepper
Roast all the vegetables at about 220C, for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them rest, covered, for a few minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the pepper and the tomatoes. Transfer everything to the blender, add the basil, and blend till an even sauce is made. Add the salt and pepper. Now, in a shallow pan, heat the olive oil, and slowly  pour in the sauce, constantly stirring. Cook, uncovered, for about five minutes. Remove from the heat.

For the Cherry Toamato and Basil Dressing
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced into half
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp Olive oil
¼ tbsp finely chopped garlic
Salt and crushed pepper to taste
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, toss them well, and keep aside to marinate.

Take about two cups full of Farfelle pasta, and cook al-dente as per the manufacturer’s instructions. I like to use Del Monte pasta, because unless you are exceptionally callous, this pasta never overcooks, and gives a nice bite to the salad. Drain the water and toss the pasta in the pepper sauce. Add in the marinated cherry tomatoes. Your salad is ready!

There are so many variants to this salad. You want a richer taste, just sprinkle some Parmesan over the salad just before serving. Want it hotter? Add a dash of Tabasco sauce to the pepper sauce when you are cooking it in the pan. You can also sprinkle some roasted pine nuts or Goji berries to your salad to give it extra flavor and texture. I always believe that a good recipe lends itself to a lot of interpretations and variants. I would also replace the marinated cherry tomatoes with some ratatouille for a different avatar of the same salad.

It’s simple recipes like this one that keep the agony out of our daily lunch. It’s so easy to make, and since you can play around with the recipe, chances are, you can send this one out quite often without any complaints. 


Hope you are thoroughly enjoying your tryst with the Wonderland madness! Share your whims here. We are open to brickbats and love...