When you have time but no energy, make a largely hands-off tomato sauce that takes only patience: For Michael Guérard's Genius Sauce Vierge, all you have to do is chop some tomatoes, smash a couple garlic cloves, snip herbs, douse with olive oil and lemon juice, and wait.
When the tomatoes have turned to sauce, boil the pasta, toast the pine nuts, and slice the mozzarella. Mix it all together, add more basil and a splash of red wine vinegar, and you've got the flavors of a margarita pizza, pasta salad-style.
This salad is also a good home for cubed or shredded roasted or poached chicken and—bonus—will get even better over time.
You'll want to adjust the quantities of mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil to your own linking—this is just a guideline. —Sarah Jampel
6 to 8
One batch of Michael Guérard's Sauce Vierge (link in headnote)
bow tie (farfalle) pasta, cooked to al dente and drained well
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.