Thursday, July 24, 2008

Erin's Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I have never tasted pasta salad as good as Erin makes it. Her recipe has a spicy, fresh taste that doesn't get pasty or watered down, even in hot weather. It is full of vegetables, definitely earning the title "salad".


One pound small shaped pasta (rotini, fusilli, macaroni, tagliatelle, etc.)
1 head broccoli
1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 scallion, chopped finely
2 ribs celery, diced
1 handful Kalamata olives, sliced (You may use Manzanilla olives, if you prefer.)
1 cup diced pepperoni
1 lb. low-moisture park-skim mozzarella, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 packet dry Good Seasons Italian dressing
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cook pasta al dente. Rinse under cold water, drain, and immediately toss with a splash of olive oil to avoid sticking. Set aside to cool. Cut broccoli into flowerettes. Blanche lightly, about 1 minute in boiling water. Plunge flowerettes in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking process. Drain and cool completely. Wash tomatoes and cut in half. Combine cooled broccoli, tomato halves, pepper, scallion, celery, olives, pepperoni, and cheese. Toss carefully with cooled pasta in a large mixing bowl, being careful not to damage noodles. Mix salad dressing with vinegar, water, and oil. Stirring salad lightly, dress just enough to moisten mixture and add desired flavor. Taste as you go, adding a little at a time. Extra dressing may be served alongside. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh oregano and basil, if desired.


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