My criteria for this particular pot luck was easy, cold, and vegetarian friendly. I came up with a Caprese Pasta Salad that was so good I made a second batch for Zach and I to enjoy during these warm Summer nights. The salad is a classic mix of pasta, fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes; what brings it all together is the amazing lemon basil vinaigrette that came to life in my blender this evening. The vinaigrette is good. Like eat with a spoon good. I want it drizzled over a grilled flank steak stat.
Caprese Pasta Salad
1 lightly packed cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound medium pasta shells, cooked al dente
8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls
1 pint baby grape tomatoes
- Place basil leaves, sea salt, garlic, lemon juice and vinegar into a blender or food processor.
- While blending, slowly drizzle olive oil into mixture and continue to blend until a smooth dressing is formed.
- In a large bowl, toss together cooled pasta, mozzarella, tomatoes and vinaigrette until lightly coated.
- Chill until ready to serve to allow flavors to come together.
Some of my personal tips for pot lucks:
- Keep it simple, not everyone is open to the latest gourmet trends.
- Know your logistics - Do you have ample outlets for crock pots? How much refrigerator space are you working with?
- Know your coworkers - Are there significant dietary requirements? You can't please everyone, but I know for a fact that we have several vegetarians in our department.
- Label your food - Let your coworkers know the ingredients so that they can decide if they're able to eat it. This is particularly important if you're eating lunch in 'shifts.'
- Aluminum roasting pans with lids from your grocer make clean up a breeze. You can recycle the container and you don't have to worry about tracking down your favorite tupperware.
- Don't panic. And if you do, discretely pack a small 'just in case' lunch to keep at your desk in case of any cream of canned casserole emergencies.