Here’s a light, yummy pasta salad and the sun is a main ingredient; allowing the tomatoes and pasta to bask in sunlight enhances the flavor of both. The acidity in the vinegar and tomatoes is a barrier for food borne illness making this salad perfect for a Fourth of July picnic. Note, however, I’d advise keeping the garlic and Parmesan refrigerated or in a cooler then tossing them into the mix just before serving.
Studies have shown that a compound in garlic fights campylobactor, the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness. That may be so, but having worked most of my life under the nose of the Health Department, I’ve always been taught that since garlic is a low-acid vegetable, when left at room, bacteria multiplies rapidly. I’m no scientist, but to be on the safe side, I don’t eat raw garlic that’s been at room temperature more than an hour.
The basil discolors when it sits in the sunlight, so that’s a last minute addition, as well. Torn basil leaves give the salad a more rustic look with a larger basil bite, but it’s a bit more time-consuming to tear individual leaves. Chop the basil or slice into a chiffonade (ribbons) if desired. I much prefer the fresh taste of pasta salads such as this, to mayo-laden, thick noodled salads.