Perfect End of Summer Pasta Salad / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.  (Who said that?  I had to look it up.  Scroll down for the answer, and points for those who know who said it, and where it came from).

I made this for some good friends who were coming over to help us milk the last few hours out of Labor Day weekend.  As I write this, the pasta salad is gone (most of it in our stomachs, the rest in a container traveling home with our guests), the air is definitely still warm, but a thinner warm, not the kind of warm that is has been mid-afternoon for the past few months.

Best Pasta Salad / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

There’s a mix of relaxation and a bit of pre-school anxiety in the house.  I bury all of it in making plum crisps and slicing the tomatoes that are threatening to turn themselves into sauce in our house.  My kids bury it in whacking each other for no reason as they pass each other in the kitchen.

We should be heading to Staples in an hour or so—having procrastinated as long a humanly possible—to get those school supplies, but every time I half-heartedly suggest it, someone says, “Yeah, in a few minutes…”, and I don’t argue.

Best Pasta Salad Recipes / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

I always wonder how Mother Nature knows that it’s actually Labor Day, and how she adjusts the leaves and the landscape accordingly.  I kind of picture a woman lying on an outdoor chaise longue, with one of those metal sun reflector things (Did your mom have one?  That shiny piece of metallic cardboard that she held up against her chest so that the sun would reflect off of it and onto her face in order to get the fullest force of the sun’s rays?  Mine did.  Yikes.) and then looking at her watch and saying, “Oh, where did the time go!” and then jumping up and turning the leaf dial ever so slightly from green to yellow and turning the temperature dial ever so slightly down.

Make this Perfect End of Summer Pasta Salad for some good friends and squeeze the most out of of those last warm days. Grab those ingredients while you can.

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Classic Pasta Salad / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

The fat lady is humming a few bars.  I think I’ll make her and Mother Nature a peach cobbler.

Other Pasta Salad Recipes:

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Perfect End of Summer Pasta Salad

Make it while you can.
Yield: 8 People
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound cavatappi or gemelli pasta
  • 2 pounds firm but ripe tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella diced
  • 1 small zucchini diced or 8 baby sliced
  • ½ cup torn fresh basil leaves or more as desired
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ¼ cup vinaigrette whatever you have lying around
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, and rinse the pasta under cool water.
  • In a large bowl combine the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, zucchini, basil and onion. Pour over the vinaigrette and 1/2 cup olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss, transfer to a serving bowl, give a final drizzle of olive oil and serve.



According to Wikipedia, the phrase was first used by journalist Ralph Carpenter to describe a close game in the Southwest Conference (football) tournament finals in 1976, referring to the way almost every opera ends. Ralph actually said “the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” This now pretty much doubles my sports reference capacity.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 504.12kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.92g | Protein: 21.41g | Fat: 24.52g | Saturated Fat: 9.31g | Cholesterol: 44.79mg | Sodium: 367.21mg | Potassium: 521.25mg | Fiber: 3.59g | Sugar: 6.32g | Vitamin A: 1456.02IU | Vitamin C: 20.93mg | Calcium: 318.45mg | Iron: 1.47mg

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