WAIT! Summer isn’t over yet! You still have a few weeks left to enjoy picnics, BBQs, eating outside and this pasta salad is perfect take along with you. Just like my white bean dip, this is one of those “anything goes” recipes. Make it like below, add some ingredients, eliminate some ingredients – no matter what you do (within reason of course) this salad is sure to please! You can even prepare the salad the night before, but wait to add the dressing or it may get too soggy. Start out with some chopped veges….I used
|Black Olives (I buy them whole and slice them – it’s not only cheaper, but gives me an excuse to pop some in my mouth as I’m cutting!)|
|Yellow and Orange Peppers|
|Red Onion (I just use a little so it’s not overpowering)|
|Cucumber (I seed mine)|
|Grape tomatoes sliced|
Other options are carrots, celery, zucchini….whatever you have on hand. Throw all of these in a bowl, mix, cover and put in the fridge until you are ready to make the salad.
Then slice up some Italian meats and cheeses. For these, I ask the person at the deli counter to cut two to three slices, 1/4″ thick, then I dice them.
|Genoa Salami, Pepperoni and Mild Provolone|
I also added in some fresh mozarella….
Put these in a separate bowl until you are ready to make the salad. Boil a box of pasta (al dente), rinse and drain. If refrigerating overnight, add some olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
MAKE THE SALAD
When you are ready to make the salad, mix all the meats, cheeses and pasta together in a large bowl. (I split the batch and add the meats to only one for those who like their pasta salad meatless).
Sprinkle a packet of Italian dry salad dressing mix on top of the mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for another hour.
Mix 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil with 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar. Throw in some dried oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. You can add some Parmesan cheese in there too if you want.
Anywhere from 1-4 hours before serving, combine the oil and vinegar mixture into the pasta salad and put back in the fridge. If adding fresh herbs, this is the time to do it. I added some fresh basil from my garden….