Air conditioning, outdoor dining, white jeans, baseball games, and summer food! We’re off and running with these seasonal conventions here in Philly and, as you can imagine, I’m putting a heavy focus on the food part…beginning with a cool, but filling, pasta salad.
Funny story about the first time I made this – I needed a side dish for dinner, did a quick Google search, landed on pasta salad, prepared it for DVH and I, and realized just a bit too late that it could easily feed 15 plus people. Whoops!
We haven’t had it since that first time (probably because we ate it for days), so when I had my choice of what to bring to a friend’s bbq this past Memorial Day, I went for it.
This pasta salad reminds me a lot of Supreme pizza thanks to the combination of red and green peppers, cheese, tomatoes, black olives and pepperoni. As an added bonus you get to throw in some salami. YUM!
Since dicing up the veggies, meats and cheese can take some time, don’t be afraid to get that step out of the way ahead of the time and then refrigerate everything until you’re ready to use it.
In the meantime, boil an entire box of medium-sized pasta shells until al dente (11 minutes-ish), drain the pasta and then run it under cold water to cool it down before combining with the diced add-ins and a packet of dry Italian dressing. In the fridge it goes for an hour!
(Are you surprised the dry Italian dressing mix doesn’t go into the dressing? I was too – but it works!)
Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, the final step is to whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, dried parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper) pour it over the salad and then toss to cover evenly.
(The final, final step would be finding 14 friends to share it with!)
Just to mix it up, I’m thinking of substituting the Asiago and pasta shells with cheese tortellini next time, but I don’t think I’d change anything else about it! The original recipe is below; The first of many summer-time dishes to come! What types of summer-only foods are you looking forward to in the coming days?
Antipasto Pasta Salad
1 lb. shell past (medium shells)
1/4 lb genoa salami sliced thick and diced
1/4 lb pepperoni, sliced thick and diced
1/2 lb Asiago cheese, diced
6 oz. can of sliced black olives, drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 small tomatoes, diced
1 packet of dry Italian dressing mix
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta until al dente, drain and cool under cold water.
In a BIG bowl, combine pasta, salami, pepperoni, asiago, olives, peppers and tomatoes.
Stir in the packet of sry Italian dressing mix and combine well.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To prepare the dressing, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to cover evenly.