Quick, Simple & Delicious. Great for any midweek dinner or lunch and equally as terrific for weekend gathering.
In a 1 or 2 cup measuring cup, add all the salad ingredients, except shallots. Whisk together thoroughly, untily lightly immulsified (slightly creamy). Add shallots. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions - al dente. Drain the pasta and allow to cool slightly.
Note: I used a 5 quart dutch oven pot. Fill with water, about 8 cups - add 1 tablespoon salt. I cooked the pasta al dente, but 1 minute less than the package direction.
In a large bowl, add the pasta, tomatoes, olives, apples, mozzarella and 1/2 of the dressing. Mix to coat the ingredients with the dressing. Add the fresh basil leaves (whole leaves). Mix to combine. Serve and Enjoy.
Note: I allowed the salad to rest for up to 2 hours before serving. It can be served immediately after assembling or allow to rest up to overnight to allow for more intense flavor.
Cut the apples right before assembling the salad to prevent oxidation. (If you cut it well ahead of assembly, add some fresh lemon juice which will prevent the oxidation.
Instead of penne, small or medium pasta shells will also work well.
You can also add any kind of olives you prefer. I happen to love kalamata olives.
Cocktail tomatoes can be replaced by cherry or grape tomatoes.