PASTA – Perfect for Picnics

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Summer is the perfect time for picnics. Celebrate with pasta!   Pasta is superb cold and can be used to make hundreds of different pasta salads.

One of my favorite shapes for salads is fusilloni, wonderfully chunky, it’s an easy-to-eat shape.  Here are some ideas for summer picnics so simple you don’t even need a recipe:

  • Add to raw spinach or other greens and season with your favorite dressing
  • Mix into tuna or shrimp salad
  • Combine with mashed avocado, lemon juice and minced herbs
  • Stir into diced cheddar, minced celery, peppers and carrots
  • For a Greek flare toss with cucumbers, olives, artichokes and feta

I love this recipe because it’s exceptionally flavorful, yet totally vegan and simple to make. A handful of nuts, a few raisins for sweetness, capers and black olives for tang, with a hint of garlic and tomatoes—a feast in 5 minutes.

Picnic Pasta Print This Post Print This Post

Picnic pasta

©Pasta Modern by Francine Segan

Serves 4

1 pound Monograno Felicetti fussilloni pasta


1 pound diced fresh tomatoes or 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, sliced

1/2 cup chopped toasted assorted nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds

2 heaping tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed

10 to 12 pitted oil-cured black olives, cut in half

1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 bunch fresh parsley

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente.

Drain the pasta and toss with the tomatoes, olive oil and garlic until well combined. Then stir in the other ingredients.  Serve at room temperature.

Another picnic-perfect pasta is adorable snail-shaped chiocciole by Monograno Felicetti, which was nominated for a 2016 sofi award by the Specialty Food Association in the Best Pasta, Rice and Grain category.  The pasta is made from single-origin heirloom grain and has a rich naturally nutty flavor. It stays firm and tastes great at room temperature so it’s perfect for picnics and buffets.

This recipe is an ideal way to enjoy summer sweet ripe tomatoes! Just cut them in bite-sized pieces, toss with pasta, drizzled with oil, shredded basil and minced garlic.  If you like put them in small glass containers to pack on your picnic.

Chiocciole with tomatoes Print This Post Print This Post

Felicetti in a Jar ©Felicetti Pasta Company

Serves 6

1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 pound Monograno Felicetti Chiocciole pasta

10 fresh basil leaves, shredded

Toss the tomatoes, oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and garlic in a large bowl. Let marinate at room temperature.

While the tomatoes are marinating, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. Stir the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente.

Drain the pasta, add it to the bowl of tomatoes, and toss well to mix. Check the seasoning, adding salt and more red pepper if you like. Gently stir in the basil and serve at room temperature.



  • Francine Segan

    Francine Segan, James Beard finalist and author of 6 cookbooks, can be found throughout NYC giving fun talks and cooking demos. She’s a regular at the 92nd St Y, Eataly’s cooking school, Chocolate Show, and New York Times Travel Show. Her specialty is Italy and her latest books are Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy and Dolci: Italy’s Sweets . She has appeared on numerous TV programs including Today Show, Early Show and Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Peek at for more info on her books & upcoming talks Visit Francine at:

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