Macaroni Salad with Basil Dressing


* 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

* 3 garlic cloves

* 1/2 teaspoon pepper

* 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

* 2/3 cup olive oil

* 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

* 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

* 2 to 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices

* 7 to 8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

* 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese or part-skim mozzarella cheese


* In a blender container or food processor, combine the basil, garlic, pepper, and salt if desired. Process until finely chopped. Add oil and vinegar; process until well blended. Set aside. In a 4-qt. salad bowl, combine tomatoes, zucchini, macaroni and cheese; toss lightly. Pour dressing over all; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Yield: 10 servings.