Sunday, May 27, 2012

Antipasto Pasta Salad

With BBQ season upon us, it's only right that I post a recipe for the greatest pasta salad in the history of ever.  Biased?  Perhaps.  I have made several variations of this dish over the past couple of years, tweaking this and adding that, but I believe that this incarnation has become my holy grail of pasta salad.  Although creamy pasta salads do have their place in the world, I find that they mostly taste like mayo or (God forbid) Miracle Whip.  In my opinion, oil and vinegar allow all the other flavors to shine and results in a much tastier, lighter salad.  This one is easy to make, colorful, and is packed with flavor.  So bring this to your next backyard BBQ and be prepared to share the recipe because people dig it, man.  Enjoy!

1 lb. rotini, cooked al dente, rinsed under cold water and drained
1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichokes, drained & chopped
1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers (packed in olive oil), drained and chopped
½ lb. provolone cheese, cut into small cubes
½ lb. sweet soppressata, cut into small cubes
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup loosely packed Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
1 (0.7 oz.) envelope Good Seasons dry Italian salad dressing mix
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup red or white wine vinegar 
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine pasta, artichokes, roasted peppers, provolone, soppressata, olives & parsley together in a large bowl. 
Sprinkle with dry Italian dressing mix and mix well. 
Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Before serving, whisk the oil, vinegar, salt & pepper together in a small bowl.  Pour mixture over pasta salad and combine well.
(For a vegetarian option, just leave out the soppressata and add some marinated mushrooms instead. Yum!) 

(Serves 12)

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