Fresh corn, juicy tomatoes and creamy avocado team up with salty pancetta, garlic and cheese for an easy to make and hard to forget summer pasta salad.
This summer pasta salad has been on repeat in this kitchen allllll season long, but it's also good any time of year. It's a different spin on a few classics and that's what's making it stand out.
- Bringing in flavors of garlic and pancetta like an Italian pasta salad
- Olive oil based sauce so it's nice and light
- Fresh lemon zest and juice for beautiful bright acidity
- Bursts of fresh summer veggies like corn and tomatoes
- Creamy avocado for a change of texture
- Pops of fresh basil throughout
- Extra cheese on top, because....cheese
And like a good pasta salad, it's easy to make. I think that's something we can all celebrate right?
Summer Pasta Salad Staples
Don't get me wrong, mayo ranks high on my list of favorite condiments. I spent a good part of my life convinced I didn't like mayo, but after this last pregnancy I feel like I've been making up for lost time by making all the aioli possible.
However, when it comes to pasta salad I'd like it to stay out of sight please.
That's why this summer pasta salad is so good! It's full of flavor and texture.
WHAT SAUCE TO USE FOR A NO MAYO PASTA SALAD
Just because we're ditching creamy condiments doesn't mean this pasta salad lacks sauce and flavor. To keep things packed with taste the sauce is a cheesy combo of olive oil, grated parmesan, melty cheddar, fresh basil and spices.
We're adding that to salty pancetta and fragrant garlic before tossing in the hot pasta. Peeeerfection.
OTHER SUMMER PASTA NECESSITIES
For veggies we're using fresh summer corn, juicy cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocado with fresh basil goodness.
And for pasta, the kids picked out the radiatore pasta and it's the perfect shape for pasta salad! With tons of grooves and nooks and crannies there's plenty of little flavor valleys in each bite.
Making this bowl of pasta veggie goodness is going to be a breeze too! Mix the 'sauce' ingredients in a large bowl. While the pasta water is boiling, sauté your pancetta and garlic. Then once the past is cooked, drained and hot - just mix it all together and add in the tomatoes!
Oh and don't forget that extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top, because everyone always appreciates a little extra cheese on top.
Make this recipe? Tell us about it in the comments! Don't forget to tag #hungerthirstplay on social media when you post your pics!
Summer Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Corn, and Pancetta
- 1 cup fresh basil (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese (divided)
- 1 lemon (zested)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 ounces pancetta (diced)
- 1 clove garlic (finely minced)
- 4 ears of corn (removed from the cob)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 avocado (diced)
- 1 pound radiatore pasta (or your favorite short pasta)
- Mix. In a large bowl, mix together the basil, cheddar cheese, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Set aside. You'll want a bowl large enough to add the pasta to after cooking.
- Boil. Cook your pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a roiling boil, add the pasta and cook to the box or package directions. Immediately after draining the pasta, add the hot pasta to the olive oil and cheese mixture. Toss to combine and melt the cheeses.
- Sauté. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until it begins to brown. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and corn. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until corn is cooked and the garlic is fragrant.
- Combine. Add the corn and pancetta mix and the fresh tomatoes to the pasta salad, toss to combine. Scatter the diced avocado and remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese over the top of the pasta salad. Serve right away slightly warmed or chill for 1 hour before serving for a cold pasta salad.