Pasta Salad {recipe}

One of my favorite dishes to make for picnics and barbecues in the summer is pasta salad.  It's an easy dish to make and it's fairly portable.  I think it tastes best when it's well-chilled, but it's delicious no matter what.

I started making this years ago when we lived in New Hampshire.  I think we were trying to decide what to make for a party in the summer and I decided to give this a try.  I've never followed a recipe for it.  Like most things, I just wing it.  I have a way that I prefer to make it, which is what I'll share below, but I also will just toss in whatever veggies are on hand.  If you have leftover cold chicken, toss it in for a great one-dish meal for the summer.

Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb tricolor pasta
  • 1 bottle any variety Italian salad dressing
  • small can sliced black olives
  • pepperoni
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (or a handful of baby carrots)
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 block of mozzarella, cubed

  1. Cook and drain your pasta
  2. Dump it into a large bowl or pot and add some of the Italian dressing to keep the pasta from sticking together.
  3. Chop your pepperoni (in half for the regular size pepperoni; in quarters if you get sliced pepperoni from the deli)
  4. Add the pepperoni, cubed cheese, chopped veggies and olives to the pasta and stir well.
  5. Add Italian dressing and stir well.

If you make this ahead, you may need to add a little more dressing before serving.  It just depends on how much has been soaked up by the pasta.

I've found some really tasty varieties of Italian dressings lately which have really kicked up the flavor of this dish.  I've tried a sun dried tomato and a Parmesan dressing and both have made a better salad than the regular Italian dressing, though I'm not knocking that one at all.  Really, it's pasta and cheese in a bowl... you can't go wrong!

What's your favorite dish to take to summer picnics and parties?

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