Prep 1 hr
Cook 40 mins
Its beginning to look like spring which leads to summer. This is a great summer salad when the vegetables are fresh and abundant. The key is using a very good olive oil, it is best served at room temperature and should not be made in advance it will taste fresher and at its peak flavor if made when needed.
- 5 large ripe beefsteak tomatoes
- 3 large cucumbers
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cup packed mint leaf, if you don't like a strong mint taste cut down the amount to personal preference
- 1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1⁄2 lbs penne or 1 1⁄2 lbs a thin rigatoni pasta
- 1⁄2 cup pitted kalamta olive
- 1 lb crumbled feta cheese
- Wash, core, and chop the tomatoes into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Peel the cucumbers, quarter lengthwise and into slivers, I have also cut them into cubes. Put the slivers or cubes in a bowl of cold water.
- Peel, trim and mince the garlic.
- Rinse the mint leaves, pat them dry and coarsely chop them.
- In a small skillet, cook the garlic in the olive oil over low heat, stirring until softened, but do not let it brown. Add the pepper flakes, anc cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Then blend in vinegar.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions for an al dente pasta. Drain the pasta. To prevent the pasta from sticking you can spread it out on a large baking sheet and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
- Drain the cucumbers.
- In a large ceramic bowl add pasta, the tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, olives and seasoned olive oil. Toss well until past is uniformly shiny. Crumble the feta cheese into the salad and toss to combine. Best served within an hour of finishing.
My DH and I had this salad on the side and had grilled steak with a wonderful marinade. The salad was so refreshing, that it gave me spring fever! I used about 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, because we don't like things too hot. It's a very nice flavorful salad!