Fresh Basil Italian Pasta Salad

I do hope no one is getting sick of my fresh basil posts.  My herbs are growing like crazy (despite this dry, dry weather we are having) so I am trying out new things all of the time.  I seem to be on a bit of a basil kick, but it is so good!  I am addicted to the purple basil; it’s flavor is full but perfectly sweet.  I try to use a mix of the varieties when I make a recipe so any type will do.  I threw this together with some pasta I had left over from my past couple of recipes, and I couldn’t resist adding a few black olives for that tangy touch.

Fresh Basil Italian Pasta Salad

  • 2 – 3 ounces pasta
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh basil
  • 2 Tbs sliced black olives
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 green onion
  • salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Rinse and chill; drain well.  Prep basil by tossing with a little olive oil and slicing into thin strips ~ check out my fresh basil post for an easy technique.  Mix together pasta, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, basil, and olive.  Dice tomato and thinly slice green onion; add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Chunky Tomato Basil Salad Dressing

I wanted to make a nice salad with our lasagna so I decided to go with a vinegar based dressing and fresh tomatoes.  Not exactly a vinaigrette but a nice tangy herb dressing none-the-less.  Traditionally vinaigrettes have about 3 to 1 ratio of oil to vinegar and I just don’t see the need to add that much oil to salad dressing.  My love of cheese takes care of any fat I may be missing out on so I like to get my flavor from the herbs and vinegar!  My sister bought me a tasty apple balsamic vinegar for Christmas;  substitute a favorite vinegar if you have one or I am sure a simple rice or red wine vinegar would be tasty too.

Chunky Tomato Basil Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup diced or wedged tomato
  • 1 tsp fresh basil
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs apple balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 2 o.z. fresh mozzarella

Cut tomatoes as desired and add basil, sugar, vinegar, and olive oil.  Stir until blended; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with torn lettuce and sprinkle with fresh mozzarella.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Homemade Pizza ~ Part 1 …. The Crust

I am trying a new pizza dough.  I saw a couple of different recipes that inspired me to create this recipe.  I have merely mixed the dough at this point and am refrigerating it overnight.  I will continue with the pizza listings tomorrow; it smells phenomenal though and I can’t wait to make pizza for lunch.  I have been craving pizza for a few weeks and I am so glad I didn’t break down and go out for pizza because this will be so much better than any pizza I can find around here I am sure!

The Crust ~

  • 1/2 cup warm water ~ 110 – 115 degrees
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup warm tap water
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs italian herb blend

Dissolve yeast and sugar in  the 1/2 cup warm water. Allow to rest for about 8 – 10 minutes until mixture begins to foam.

Pour flour in mixing bowl.

Add kosher salt, the remaining warm water, and olive oil.  Pour in yeast mixture and begin mixing over low-speed for 3 minutes.

Dough will still be sticky.  Add garlic and italian herbs; increase mixer speed to medium and mix an additional 3 minutes until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Dough should be tacky and not too sticky ~ mix in a bit of additional flour if needed.

Place dough in oiled bowl and flip dough over to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and rest on counter 30 minutes.  Refrigerate overnight.

Here is the plan for tomorrow ~ Remove the dough from refrigerator and divide into 2 pieces.  Place each piece onto oiled baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap; allowing to proof for about 2 hours. Roll or stretch dough to fit pan; I plan to use a couple of large baking sheets.  Bake dough for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees; add desired toppings and bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes. Come back tomorrow for “Part 2 ~ The Sauce”

Enjoy ~ Kimberly