Recipe of the Week: Italian Pasta Salad

ITALIAN-PASTA-SALAD-7There’s more than one way to be festive this holiday season and this colorful pasta salad is just the recipe to add color and flavor to your family’s dinner table.  Aside from its showstopper presentation, this salad can be served as a side dish or a main meal, and is wonderful the next day for lunch or a snack.  Enjoy!

For the salad:

1 pound of penne pasta or bow tie pasta or multi-colored rotini

1 cup Genoa salami, chopped into 1/2 inch thick cubes

1 cup pepperoni slices, halved

1 cup halved black olives

1 cup mozzarella, cubed or shredded

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips OR halved cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup freshly chopped basil 

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

for heat, a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

For the dressing:

4 oz. red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Salad:

Following the directions on the package, cook pasta, drain under cold water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooled pasta with the remaining salad ingredients.

Chill the salad until ready to serve.  Do not add the dressing until time to plate the salad.

Directions for the Dressing:

Add all the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor.

While the machine is running slowly stream in olive oil and continue to blend until combined.

Season dressing with salt and pepper.  When ready to serve toss pasta salad with dressing. 

Season pasta salad with additional salt and pepper if necessary to taste.

A few tips:  Make the dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to blend.  When time to serve, pour almost all the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Reserve a small bit of dressing for leftovers.  

Photo credit Jenn Dempsey

Comments are closed.