One of the things I need to constantly remind myself of (and relearn and relearn) is the art of NOT adding one more thing to a recipe. It’s often so tempting—there’s that jar of artichoke hearts! There’s that leftover tapenade! It’s not that these ingredients wouldn’t be welcome in the dish…it’s that the dish is just perfectly awesome without them.
There is no better time to re-establish this important rule of cooking than the middle of August. Tomatoes. Corn. Basil. Hard stop.
And so, I fought the urge to throw another half dozen ingredients into this pasta salad, contenting myself with some fresh mozzarella and a light balsamic olive oil dressing. And oh, my dears, if this Tomato, Corn, Basil and Mozzarella Pasta Salad isn’t summertime eating at its finest, I don’t know what is.
These tomatoes all exploded in my garden at the same time (and please note—this was an extremely rare thing—one of the few years I planted a garden, and one of the fewer years that anything happened with the garden.
This is usually what my garden looks like by the end of the summer.
This is a real thing. That is an actual photo of my garden a few years ago. If anyone has been feeling badly about their brown thumb, I am here to make you feel better.
You can use any chunky pasta shape you like—I used large elbows in these photos. It’s also good to note that this would be fantastic with couscous or another whole grain instead of pasta. If the grain is very dense, like farro, use a smaller amount—you don’t want to overwhelm the vegetables.
The only thing that takes more than two seconds in this recipe is roasting the garlic, which you can and should do ahead of time. Roasting garlic at home is so SO simple, and you can do two or three or more heads at once, and it will last for several days in the fridge. It adds a sweet, mild, smoky garlic flavor to anything it graces, from soups to stews to sauces to dressings to this salad.
Other pasta salad recipes to try:
- Pasta Salad with Chicken and Chipotle Dressing
- Simple Vegetarian Pasta Salad
- Pasta Salad with Salmon and Creamy Cilantro Dressing
- Pasta Salad with Chicken, Picholine Olives, and Ramp Vinaigrette
- Greek Chicken Pasta Salad
Other End of Summer Dishes to make:
- Chili Rubbed Flank Steak with Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad
- Summer Corn, Tomato and Bacon Salad
- Chopped Salad with Chicken, Tomatoes and Lemon Thyme Dressing
- Chicken, Bacon and Corn Chowder
- Summer Tomato-Corn Relish
Simplest Tomato, Corn, Basil and Mozzarella Pasta Salad
- 1 pound dried pasta any chunky shape
- 4 ears fresh corn shucked
- 6 cups cubed ripe tomatoes
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella diced
- ½ cup slivered fresh basil leaves
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves roasted garlic see Cooking Tip, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and return to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. During the last two minutes of cooking add the ears of corn. When you drain the pasta, take out the ears of corn and let cool. Quickly rinse the pasta in cool water to stop the cooking, drain well, and turn into a serving bowl.
- Remove the corn from the cobs with a knife or a corn stripper. Add the corn, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to the pasta.
- In a small container combine the olive oil, roasted garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and shake to combine. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings (be generous with the salt). Serve at room temperature.
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