If your family is like mine, summer is the time for lots of outdoor get-togethers. With loads of aunts, uncles and cousins everyone is responsible for bringing something tasty to share. There are tons of classic potluck dishes but in my family, you can’t bring anything verging on mediocre. We aim high when it comes to taste buds but with Tillamook Monterey Jack Cheese in my back pocket, I never risk family ridicule. My go to potluck recipe is a classic pasta salad with a twist. Here’s how you take a pasta salad and turn it into something worth talking about.
1 pound fusilli pasta
Pinch of salt
1 pound cherry tomatoes
1 bunch scallions
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 pound Tillamook Monterey Jack Cheese
10 sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
10 sun-dried tomatoes
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon capers
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Boil water and cook pasta as directed by packaging. While the water is heating up, heat up your grill. Cover the tomatoes and the scallions in olive oil and lightly grill. Chop the grilled tomatoes, scallions, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and then return noodles to pot. Immediately add tomatoes, scallions, olives and sun-dried tomatoes to warm pasta.
Make the dressing by placing 10 sun-dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Mix until combines. Add the dressing to the pasta and stir together.
Cut the Tillamook Monterey Jack cheese into small cubes. Add to pasta salad when cooled. You don’t want the cheese to melt. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 8.