This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bertolli®. All opinions are 100% mine.
I love Summer. School’s out, fresh fruit and vegetables are at their peak, and visits to the local farmer’s market are frequent. Inevitably I will find my cart overflowing with bright red tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. There is something so lovely about sharing a big bowl of Panzanella bursting with the flavors of Summer for an easy dinner on the deck. It’s nice to discover simple dishes that can bring the best of Italian flavors to your evening table. My Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad is the perfect dish to inspire your own Summer Tuscan table escape.
The kitchen is the new family room. As summer approaches I find myself wanting to spend less time in the kitchen cooking, and more time with my family celebrating the joys of our everyday life. Can you say lazy afternoons by the neighborhood pool and toasting marshmallows over the warm coals of the grill? Bertolli® pasta sauces are a key ingredient in many of my easiest dishes for low key summer dinners. Fresh mozzarella pearls and basil just add to the layers of brightness in this pasta salad.
Right now, Bertolli® is celebrating 150 years of bringing Tuscany to family tables everywhere. With its authentic taste and quality ingredients Bertolli® is a pantry staple. Making an assortment of pasta varieties and fresh vegetables to add in allows for an entire week of dinners to mix-and-match flavor profiles. The thought of not turning on the oven to heat up the kitchen gives chilling out for dinner a whole new meaning.
The croutons in Panzanella were the inspiration for this dish. Who doesn’t love sneaking a taste of simmering sauce by dunking in a piece of crusty bread? My mom’s friend was visiting and offered to make her tasty homemade croutons, so I jumped at the chance to add them to the recipe.
If you have never made homemade croutons, give it a try. They are pretty much fool proof. Cut a loaf of crusty, hearty bread into cubes and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the bread cubes with a mixture of melted butter and good olive oil. Sprinkle the drizzled cubes with your favorite seasonings. I prefer garlic and onion powder. Then bake the cubes in the oven at 275 degrees F for about 20-25 until lightly toasted. When mixed into the sauced pasta, the croutons were coated in just enough of the sweet, tangy tomato and basil sauce to make your mouth do a happy dance. Then pairing the croutons with the fresh mozzarella pearls? Hello dance party!
To make this a super fast dinner, all the ingredients for the pasta salad were prepped ahead of time. It’s a great time saver to have chilled pasta in the fridge to grab at a moment’s notice. If there’s anything we all can use more of in the Summer, it’s time to spend with the family!
- 4 Cups Cooked Rotini Pasta
- 2 Cups Bertolli® Tomato & Basil Sauce
- ½ Cup Mini sliced pepperoni
- ½ Cup Fresh Mozzarella Pearls
- 3 large handfuls of homemade croutons (if you don't have homemade, store bought are fine)
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish
- In a large bowl add cooked, chilled rotini and sauce. Stir to coat pasta thoroughly.
- Add croutons, mini pepperoni sliced and Mozzarella pearls to pasta mixture and stir gently to incorporate ingredients through sauced pasta.
- Top with additional fresh basil and serve.
Viva Bertolli® and join me in celebrating 150 years of delicious Italian food, friends and family. Felice Anniversario and Buono Appetito! Visit Bertolli on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for more inspirations and ideas to bring Tuscany to your table.