BBT? Do you mean BLT? Nope.
This is possibly the world’s best pasta salad. It’s quick, it tastes super fresh and it’s inexpensive to make. The flavors truly encompass summer. At least they so for me. Be forwarned. This recipe is not how I lost 40 lbs in the last year. LOL
But what’s the ‘B’ where the ‘L’ should be?
The secret ingredient is…
Basil has a tendency to make everything it touches taste ‘Italian’, but I promise this pasta salad is miles away from Italian. It’s cool, it’s creamy and it tastes like a BLT!
Mayo (I use Duke’s Light)
Bacon (I’m lazy and use Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked Bacon)
Red Wine Vinegar
Tomatoes (Fresh from my garden)
Basil (Fresh from my garden)
First things first, go ahead and start your pasta. For this recipe, I used 8 oz of pasta (half a 1 lb box) but I went ahead and cooked the whole box. You’re going to cook it according to the package directions. The extra pasta will store fine in the fridge for a few days. My kids like it heated with a little butter and Parmesan cheese. The rest of your prep can be done while your pasta cooks!
Years ago, before I really learned anything about cooking, if a recipe called for a chopped tomato, I did just that. I took a tomato and I chopped it. The whole thing, less the stem of course. Of the years, I’ve learned a lesson about tomatoes. Seed them. Always seed them. A seeded tomato doesn’t add excess moisture or those pesky little seeds to recipes where they don’t belong. The easiest way to seed a tomato is to cut the top and bottom off your tomato, split it down the middle and use a spoon the scrape out the seeds. Once you’ve done that, place the halves skin side up and dice them up! For this, I used 4 tomatoes. I had three Roma and 1 Better Boy.
Who doesn’t love bacon? Well, my thighs have a love-hate relationship with it. That’s ok though. I don’t eat it too terribly often, but when I do I opt for Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked Bacon. #1 – It’s easy. #2 – There’s no greasy mess to deal with. #3 – It’s actually healthier than buying raw bacon and frying it. I used 10 slices of bacon. I simply pulled it out of the package, still cold, and chopped the heck out of it.
For the dressing, I started with a half cup of Duke’s Light Mayo. I know you can only get Duke’s in the south, so use what you can get. In my opinion, Kraft if the next best option. If you want, you could sub in a little fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt here, but I personally want the mayo.
To the mayo, add 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar. If you decide to use sour cream or Greek yogurt, I would probably skip this. Those are already tart on their own and I think this might be overkill.
Add some salt and pepper to taste, then give it a really good stir. Add the dressing, along with the tomato and bacon, to your drained pasta.
Here’s where the basil comes in. No chopping, no cutting. Just pluck the leaves, give them a quick tear to release the oils, and drop it in the pot. You’ll want a good little mound of it.
Stir, stir, stir!
That’s it. Seriously. How easy is that? Of course, you’ll want to taste test it at least 2 or three times. Maybe 4. It took every ounce of self control I could muster to cover this and put it in the refrigerator to chill. What I really wanted to do was grab a spoon (a big one) and curl up on the couch with the pot of pasta salad. Alas, better judgement did prevail and there was plenty of pasta salad left when my husband came home from work.
This will be made again. Often.