This week’s Summer Peach Pasta Salad showcases the best of what is currently fresh in one stunning big-batch salad. Peaches, tomatoes and sweet corn are the seasonal hits in this brightly flavored, refreshing summer salad, and they come together to create an incredible sweet and salty taste experience.

July is the start of our summer produce season, and a time when we are able to add more variety to our menus with ease, inspired simply by the fresh foods we see at our local markets. It is a marvelous time to be a foodie.

Beautiful, fresh peaches are now available, and for this recipe you should look for fruit that is ripe and slightly firm so that the peaches can hold up well in the salad. I use fresh sweet corn cut straight from the cob for this recipe, but you could also use canned or frozen corn, and you can leave the kernels raw or grill them for a pop of smoky flavor.

Fresh peaches and ripe cherry tomatoes are in season and abundantly available at local markets and grocery stores. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Fresh peaches and ripe cherry tomatoes are in season and abundantly available at local markets and grocery stores. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

I use fusilli pasta for this salad, which are corkscrew shaped noodles that help catch all the good flavor of the salad, and you can find it at Hornbacher’s locally, under the Rao’s brand. If you cannot find fusilli, look for a noodle that has some nooks and crannies, like bowtie or rotini.

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This summer salad recipe also features baby arugula, for a touch of peppery freshness, and if you do not care for that flavor profile, fresh spinach leaves would also work great. Radicchio is also included, a wonderful bitter green with a deep purple leaf that brings a bitter crunch and color to the dish. A sprinkling of creamy, salty feta cheese is added to balance the bitter spice of the veggies, and a Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette rounds out the flavors and brings them all together.

This big-batch salad features sweet corn, radicchio, arugula, crumbled feta cheese, red onion, fresh peaches and fusilli pasta. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
This big-batch salad features sweet corn, radicchio, arugula, crumbled feta cheese, red onion, fresh peaches and fusilli pasta. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

The vinaigrette is one of my go-to dressings and is a simple blend of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon zest and seasoning. It goes with nearly any salad, and I recommend doubling the recipe and keeping some on hand to use in other salads.

This pasta salad can be made up to four days in advance of serving, and the vinaigrette will last even longer. It can be served chilled or warm, as you desire, and is perfect with fish, pork and chicken dishes or as a vegetarian option.

This big-batch salad recipe yields about eight to 10 servings and is the perfect side dish for summer picnics and barbecues. You can additional ingredients to enhance the dish, like thinly sliced Italian salami, almonds or pine nuts or grilled chicken.

This Peach Pasta Salad is summer personified – beautifully colored, freshly flavored and full of the tastes of the season. Enjoy!

Celebrate the flavors and colors of summer with Sarah's Peach Pasta Salad. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Celebrate the flavors and colors of summer with Sarah's Peach Pasta Salad. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Summer Peach Pasta Salad

Serves: 8 to 10

Salad Ingredients:

1 pound fusilli, bowtie or rotini pasta

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 large ripe peaches, sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup sweet corn, fresh, canned or frozen (thawed)

½ medium red onion, thinly sliced

5 cups baby arugula

1 cup radicchio, cut into slices about ¼-inch wide (like shredded cabbage)

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

Zest of 1 lemon (or 1 heaping tablespoon)

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, add the olive oil and vinegar and whisk together until fully combined. Add the lemon zest, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and whisk vigorously until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired; set aside. (Dressing may be made up to one week in advance.)

In the bowl with the pasta, add the peach slices, tomatoes, corn, red onion, arugula and radicchio and toss to combine. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the top of the salad, then add the dressing. Toss until evenly distributed.

To store: This salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Recipe Time Capsule:

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.