Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

Pasta
1 lb. Pasta - Cooked shells (ziti, penne, or as desired)
2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 cups Tomatoes, chopped into 3/4” cubed
1 1/2 cups Artichoke hearts quartered, canned or frozen
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, 3/4” cubes
1 cup Black olives, sliced and pitted
2/3 cup Red onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup Parmesan or romano cheese, grated
1.Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water (add salt to taste and 1 tablespoon oil to prevent boiling) until “al dente”, about 8 or 9 minutes.
2.Rinse, set aside and drizzle remaining tablespoon olive oil over to keep the pasta form sticking together.
3.Add chopped tomatoes, artichoke hearts, cubed mozzarella cheese, black olives and red onion to the cooked pasta. Set aside while you prepare dressing.

Dressing
1 cup Red bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves Garlic, slightly smashed, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup Olive oil
1 1/2 cups Tomato sauce (canned)
1/4 teaspoon CHOLULA HOT SAUCE (or more to taste)
1/2 cup Basil chopped fresh leaves, or 2 tablespoons dried leaves
3 tablespoons Lemon juice
Salt - To taste
For dressing:

STEP 1:

Heat the olive oil with the garlic* until bubbly (don’t let the garlic brown – it will taste bitter). Add chopped red bell pepper and continue to cook over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic cloves.

STEP 2:

Add tomato sauce and CHOLULA HOT SAUCE. Simmer 5 minutes. Add basil, salt and lemon juice. Cover pasta and vegetable, sprinkle with parmesan or romano.

STEP 1:

Store in refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.
NOTE: If using garlic powder, add it with basil and salt.
This hearty pasta salad will serve as an entrée for 8 or as a side dish for 12 or more. Try adding cold, peeled, boiled shrimp or cubes of cooked chicken breast.