Friday, July 29, 2016

Pasta Salad Loaded With The Good Stuff

This is one of those posts I feel I need to apologize for before I even begin- the pictures are awful.


Every once in awhile there's a dish I really want to share with you but I'm too tired or busy to play with lighting and all of that and I just zip through it.  Just know that this salad is tasty enough that I wanted to share it with you despite how ugly these pictures are!

Several years ago-
ok, more than several years ago- twelve years ago, I think it was.  I'm getting old...
Anyway, back when I was young I was a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding.  She and I were stationed together in the Air Force in Columbus, MS- she was from just outside of Tuscaloosa- an hour away- so I got to know her family and friends pretty well.  She enlisted hoping to see the world and they pretty much sent her right back home, go figure!
Anyway, her wedding was held at a small country church and her Mother In Law- a lovely woman whose name I can't recall but who makes a mean Croque Monsieur and taught us how to make delicious Strawberry Daiquiris- catered the meal.  That woman could cook.  Oh my goodness could she cook.  Everything she worked so hard to prepare for the meal at the reception was scrumptious but she made a pasta salad that was simply divine.  Loaded with meats, cheeses, olives...it was so much more than your standard pasta salad.  I'm fairly certain I could have made a meal out of it.  Lets just say that twelve years later I can still remember that salad!

I've been on a bit of a mission to find the perfect pasta salad recipe ever since, and this recipe is as close as I think I've found yet.  It may not be the same salad, however- like the pasta salad from the wedding- it's just loaded with goodness.

Red onion.
Roasted red peppers.
Two kinds of olives.
Two kinds of cheese
Artichoke hearts.

What's not to like?
Nothing.  The answer is nothing.
This salad is just loaded with yummy ingredients, and in the words of Martha Stewart, that's a good thing.

I made this for a get together last week and I was so pleased with how it turned out.  There was a little room for improvement, so I've updated the recipe below- it just needed a little tweaking to take it from a good pasta salad to a great pasta salad!

Thankfully I've done the leg work for you and the *slightly* modified recipe is below- enjoy!

1 (16 oz) package tri-color rotini pasta
1 large red onion, diced
1 1/2 C diced roasted red peppers
1 C cubed mozzarella cheese
12 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 lb salami, diced
3/4 C sliced stuffed green olives
1 (4 oz) can sliced black olives
1 C sliced pepperoncini peppers
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 C Italian-style salad dressing
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 C shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook rotini at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

2. Mix rotini, red onion, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, salami, green olives, black olives, and pepperoncini peppers in a large bowl.

3. Whisk Italian seasoning, garlic powder, seasoned salt, back pepper, Italian dressing, and mayonnaise, together in a small bowl; pour half of the dressing over rotini mixture and toss to coat, reserving remainder until ready to serve. Add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Refrigerate salad at least 4 hours before serving.

4. Just before serving toss salad with reserved dressing mixture.

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