Monday, May 31, 2010

My "Go-To" Pasta Salad Recipe

Anytime there is a warm-weather get together, I bring cold salads. I have a recipe that I got from a co-worker when I lived in Ohio and it has since become my favorite "go-to" recipe for pasta salad. Prepare to be amazed at how simple, yet delicious this is!

1 bag/box tri-color pasta (typically rotini or the swirly kind)
1 bottle Robusto Italian dressing
1 container of grape or cherry tomatoes (see note in recipe on this)
2 green bell peppers
1-2 cucumbers
fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
small can of sliced black olives (optional)

1) Prepare the pasta according to the package.
2) While the pasta is cooking, you will begin dicing your veggies.

Here's the low-down on that. Tomatoes: if you choose the grape tomatoes, you don't really need to de-seed them. I cut them in half and then cut those halves into half. If you use cherry tomatoes, you'll need to quarter your halves or the chunks are too large but only after removing the seeds from the middle. Bell peppers: I cut them into strips and then dice them into about 1/4-1/2" square size bites. Cucumbers: first, obviously is to peel them. I then quarter them lengthwise into 4 spears. I then run my knife down the peak to de-seed them and then they, too, are chopped into small, bite-sized chunks.

3) Drain pasta and run under cool water to chill. When I want to speed chill my pasta, I've been known to put 6-8 ice cubes in the colander with the pasta after it's been rinsed in cold water.

4) In a large bowl add the drained pasta, veggies and then pour on about 1/2 the bottle of the dressing. Stir well, serve chilled.

5) I included two optional ingredients: black olives that can be stirred in with the veggies (I don't like them so I don't use them) and Parmesan cheese which is a nice topping to spoon over after serving it. I've also crisped up some bacon and crumbled that into the salad at serving time. Man, was that delicious!

So, there you have it. Colorful, light, cold. A perfect pasta recipe for a summertime meal!

I'm enjoying the leftovers of mine right now as I type this.


Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

Yummy! Nothing says summer like a delicious pasta salad - thanks for the great recipe.

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Mom makes one like this and it's my all time favorite!