SAVEUR - - Virginia -

Ac­tive: 20 min. • To­tal: 30 min.

Pasta salad is a Vir­ginia coun­try-store sta­ple, to which Ma­son Here­ford ap­plies his sig­na­ture culi­nary move: el­e­vat­ing hum­ble dishes with­out sac­ri­fic­ing their essence. Al dente penne gets decked out with le­mony but­ter­milk dress­ing, sweet pep­pers, and crunchy seeds.

Kosher salt 1 lb. dry penne pasta 2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn 1 cup (7 oz.) cherry toma­toes, halved cup (5 oz.) diced cu­cum­ber cup chives, cut into half-inch pieces cup (3 oz.) diced red onion cup (½ oz.) mini sweet pep­pers, thinly sliced cup (1¾ oz.) roasted, salted sun­flower seeds cup (1½ oz.) roasted, salted pepi­tas cup (6 oz.) crum­bled feta cheese cup but­ter­milk cup may­on­naise Tbsp. fresh le­mon juice, plus more to taste tsp. finely grated le­mon zest Tbsp. Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Crys­tal brand 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh gar­lic 1 tsp. chile flakes Freshly ground black pep­per

1 Fill a large pot with salted wa­ter, and bring it to a boil. Add the penne, and cook un­til just al dente, about 10 min­utes (the pasta will fur­ther soften as it soaks up some of the dress­ing). Drain, dis­card­ing the cook­ing liq­uid, and rinse the pasta well un­der cold run­ning wa­ter. Drain well.

2 Trans­fer the penne to a large serv­ing bowl, and add the basil, cherry toma­toes, cu­cum­ber, chives, red onion, pep­pers, sun­flower seeds, and pepi­tas. Toss well and set aside.

3 In a medium bowl, add the feta, but­ter­milk, may­on­naise, le­mon juice and zest, hot sauce, gar­lic, and chile flakes; mix well. Add the dress­ing to the pasta, and toss to coat. Sea­son with kosher salt and a gen­er­ous amount of black pep­per. If de­sired, squeeze a lit­tle more fresh le­mon juice over the top of the pasta salad, then serve im­me­di­ately.

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