Monday, May 5, 2014

Family favorite Pasta Salad

LAST POST I promised to share a few recipes I used at a recent baby shower I threw for my friend. This pasta salad has been a recipe my mom made growing up, and after I got married I tried my Mother in Law's version as well. I took it upon myself to combine ideas from the two, and I am really happy with the end result!
This salad can be made with variations, adding or substituting as you please... the flavors are bright and fresh, and it can be made ahead of time for early and easy preparation.
Recipe: Family Favorite Pasta salad
Recipe source: Emmy in her Element
1 Box Rotini pasta
6 cheese sticks cut into 1/4"thick slices
3/4 cup purple chopped purple onion
1 cucumber peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
1 cup cheery tomatoes sliced in half or thirds
1 cup blanched broccoli chopped
1 2.25 oz can sliced black olives.
1 bottle Italian Dressing
1-2 tablespoons Jonny's salad essence seasoning
cherry tomatoes
string cheese slices
sliced crostini bread or bagel chips
Boil Pasta as directed. Do not over cook as the pasta will soak in some of the dressing. Drain and cool in the refrigerator. Cut veggies and cheese, and set aside. Flash boil the broccoli for just a few minutes to lightly soften. Do not over cook. Immediately remove and add to an ice bath or rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Cool broccoli in the refrigerator. Once pasta has cooled, add veggies, olives, cheese, salad essence and stir in about 3/4 of the bottle of Italian Dressing. Mix together and let cool together in the fridge. After a few hours, add a little more dressing as the pasta will soak a little of it up as it cools.
For my party, a fun way I found to dish up the salad was to add it to clear cups and add a garnish on the top. I made this by taking a tooth pick and adding 1 whole cherry tomato and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Right next to it I added a bagel chip, I also think a slice of crostini bread would be perfection.
This was easy to make ahead of time and chill until my guests arrived.
 You could also add pepperoni, or use different kinds of pasta for this salad. I have had it made with tri-colored pasta, spaghetti noodles, or bowtie. You could also use different vegetables, let your imagination take over!
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