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My Big Fat Greek Wedding Pasta Salad

Anne, my sister-in-law, was having a ladies’ potluck dinner for her sister-in-law. Well, actually it’s her soon-to-be sister-in-law, who is marrying Anne’s brother, who also happens to be my friend Amy’s brother-in-law. I know, don’t even try to figure that out.

Anyway, I offered to bring a dessert to the potluck, my finger at the ready to speed dial Brownies R Us, But Anne nixed that idea, calling it a ‘slacker” suggestion. She wanted me to make my Greek pasta salad instead, since her soon-to-be SIL is half Greek. (The other half is very Chicago.)

I accepted my assignment, whining only a little, because, by my crabby calculations, I knew I’d be making pasta salad and also dinner for my family that day, which was one cooking task to many, if you ask me. (Actually, two too many, but who’s counting?)

But this was a wedding, after all. I decided to embrace the cooking chore even though I had many things I’d rather be doing (like researching new nail polish colors or Googling pictures of Arnold’s maid).

As I began to prep the salad, I realized that I’d forgotten how easy the recipe is. I got carried away and made twice as much as I needed for my SIL’s SIL, which meant I had plenty to feed my family as well. I told my husband to grill some burgers and dinner was so done (with maybe a little help from Brownies R Us).

P.S. At the potluck, my SIL’s SIL ate nothing, as she was on a pre-wedding anti-bloat campaign.

Greek Pasta Salad

Serves 4-6

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil, plus extra for cooking the pasta
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ pound rotelle pasta
1 English cucumber
1 pint grape tomatoes
¼ pound good feta cheese
½ cup finely chopped parsley
½ cup finely chopped fresh basil or dill

1. Place the mustard in a small bowl. Put the garlic through a press into the bowl and combine with the mustard. Add the vinegars, mixing well. Slowly whisk in the oil until the dressing is emulsified. Whisk in the salt and pepper and set the dressing aside.

2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water (adding a splash of olive oil to the water so the pasta does not stick together later) until al dente, about ten minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.

3. Place the cool pasta in a large bowl. Cut the cucumber into quarters, lengthwise. Cut the cucumbers crosswise into ¼” slices and add them to the pasta in the owl. Cut the grape tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl. Cut the feta cheese into ½” cubes and add to the bowl. Add the parsley and basil and then the dressing and toss gently to combine everything well. Serve immediately.

Note: some people think it’s okay to toss the salad hours in advance, but I prefer to do it at the last minute so the pasta does not absorb all the dressing and taste dry.

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