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Tuesday July 29, 2008 1:24 pm

Recipe: Summer Pasta Salad

summer-pasta-salad

This pasta salad is one of my favorite potluck contributions. Because of the fact that the pasta has to be completely cool - at most room temperature - before assembling the salad, it’s a great dish to start at night and finish the next day. Here’s a recipe for a great Summer Pasta Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb smallish, shaped pasta (rotini, farfalle, macaroni, anything small and easily fork-able)
  • 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing (not creamy)
  • 4 T Salad Supreme
  • 1 12 to 14 inch cucumber or two smaller ones, peeled and seeded
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 4 ounces Provolone cheese (this is usually 4 slices of prepackaged sliced cheese)
  • 4 ounces salami (again, usually 4 slices of prepackaged sliced meat, but this can also be 4 ounces from a whole salami)

Preparation:
Cook the pasta according to package directions and your taste. Keep in mind that when the pasta is done on the stove top, it won’t be reheated and therefore won’t get any softer - if you like your pasta less than al dente, cook it exactly to your taste. Put the drained pasta in the fridge to cool it down entirely.

In a bowl, combine the Italian dressing and the Salad Supreme and set aside. Dice the cucumbers into a size that will match the size of the halved tomatoes. Cut the salami and the cheese into pieces of similar sizes.

Once the pasta is cool, combine it with the vegetables, salami, cheese and dressing.

My tips: Make sure your pasta is cool, if not cold, before adding the rest of the ingredients! My mom had a near disastrous end to this recipe one time when she assembled the entire salad before the pasta had cooled entirely and ended up with big pasta-studded clumps of melty cheese.  And experiment with vegetables! Tomatoes and cucumbers are just what I’ve settled on, but red and yellow peppers, carrot medallions or pieces of baby carrot, broccoli, cauliflower or even blanched, cut green beans or jarred giardiniera could make it work for you.  Finally, if you skip the salami, this makes a fantastic vegetarian side or main dish.

Gallery: Recipe: Summer Pasta Salad

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