Friday, September 25, 2009

Pasta Salad's Finest Day

Everyone has had pasta salad. They all kinda start to taste the same. Similar ingredients, similar dressings. Very blah. The bakery/cafe I used to work at out in Riverside, CA used to have THE BEST pasta salad I had ever tasted. It was so different from every other one I'd ever tried. It was prepared well before even the early crew got there, so I never got to see exactly what went in it. I made my guesstimations, but it was never quite right.
Enter Meagan, stage left. Meagan's family and I bonded while her brother and The Dude were in Iraq together. Our two Marines actually shared the same birthday. I traveled to Texas to visit and Meagan made this wonderful pasta salad for me. Jaw on the counter. THIS WAS IT! This recipe tasted just like the one back in Riverside! So yummy. I ate well more than my share.

Meag's Pasta Salad
1 lb pasta (I used tri-colored, cheese filled tortellini)
¼ lb summer sausage or salami
¼ lb sliced pepperoni
¼ lb Asiago cheese, diced
1 6oz can sliced black olives, drained
1 red bell pepper, chopper
1 green orange or yellow pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 (7oz) pkg. dry Italian salad dressing mix
¾ c extra virgin olive oil
¼ c balsamic vinegar
2 T dried oregano
1 T dried parsley
¼ lb grated Parmesan cheese
1 small block mozzarella cheese, cubed (I had fresh mozzarella balls on hand)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water

Chop/slice all of the ingredients that need it.

It all looked so pretty lined up on my cutting board. I couldn't decide which photo I liked best.

So I included them all.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta with salami, pepperoni, Asiago cheese, black olives, red pepper, orange/yellow pepper, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Stir in the envelope of dressing mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad and mix well.

Man, I'm telling you, F A B U L O U S! If you're bringing this to a function, be sure and make a few copies of the recipe because you WILL be asked for it!

**You can totally leave this vegetarian. Omit the meats and toss in some artichoke hearts or mushrooms or whatever!

Don't feel bound by the recipe, use whatever things you have in the fridge. The key here is the dressing!

1 comment:

The Rambler said...

Why can't you live here? Why can't we be neighbors so I can bring the wine and you can make us fabulous food?

Sigh. One day Miss day :)

I've missed you AND your blog.