Tell someone you live in Minnesota and it conjures up images of a vast, arctic tundra. I beg to differ. Here we sit on June 19 and we have already had 20 days of temperatures in excess of 90º. Too hot to cook in the kitchen. Painfully hot to grill on the deck.
So to escape the heat of cooking, I like to make a big bowl of Italian Pasta Salad. This recipe has 3 distinct advantages. 1. It's delicious. 2. Eating a chilled pasta salad is a great way to beat the heat. 3. It will keep in the fridge for 4 days, so you can get multiple meals out of a single prep session.
In order to make sure it's delicious, you need to use quality ingredients. For the salami, skip the meat aisle and head to the deli. You want real Italian artisan salami. If you belong to Costco, there is no mozzarella in the world as great as Galbani's Marinated Fresh Mozzarella balls. And if you are feeling lazy and don't want to make homemade Italian dressing, I'd suggest Ken's Steakhouse Zesty Italian Dressing.
For the Dressing
1-1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried Turkish oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
For the Salad
1 pound cooked rotini
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, halved
1 pound salami, cubed
3/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
3/4 cup pepperoncini, sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cups fresh chopped parsley
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar, cover and shake vigorously. Set aside.
- Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Then add 1/2 to 3/4 of the dressing to the salad and thoroughly toss until mixed.
- Chill for at least 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate the remaining dressing and use it to freshen the salad leftovers for subsequent meals.
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