Italian pasta salad that means business

I don't know about you, but when I attend summer potlucks and encounter the inevitable array of pasta salads, I yawn. I don't really have anything against pasta salad; it's sort of a necessity. It does well outside, doesn't need to be kept hot, is easy to make, and is a generally agreeable dish to take for all sorts of palettes. Still, it bores me a little.

Don't get me wrong, I make it with some regularity. It's a great option when you're all "Hmm, I have half an onion, half a red pepper, and a bunch of odds and ends in the chiller. What can I make?" The answer is usually, for me, pasta salad. I can always resurrect some form of pasta or another from the pantry and there's usually a bit of cheese or something else to add to the mix lying around. But still, I usually yawn. Pasta, tomato, ranch, yada yada.

But fear not, pasta salad makers. I am here to rescue you.

As usually is the case, I was rooting around for something to use as a side dish for burgers the other night, and I pulled a bag of corkscrew pasta out. Bonus! Corkscrew is one of my favorite shapes of pasta for pasta salad. It's a little fun (yes, I think about these things) and it holds dressing well. I also had half a red pepper, some onion, and a little bit of leftover Genoa salami. Hmmm. This is getting interesting.

A good side dish was born, and this had kick, interest, and FLAVOR. It was anything but bland. I like strong flavors, and that might be my problem with most pasta salads. They're all "Meh, I don't want to try to hard to get anyone's attention." But I say it's time for pasta salad to RISE UP! Get noticed! Wallflower no more, this pasta salad takes the center stage.

Powerful Pasta Salad
1 bag corkscrew pasta (I'm sure it has a fancier name but it escapes me now)
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/3 large red onion, diced
1/2 cup marinated green olives (give a rough chop)
8 or 10 slices salami (rough chop)
1/3 cup bleu cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil (or a few chopped leaves of fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Nice drizzle of olive oil
Cracked black pepper
(I didn't think this needed salt what with the salami and the cheese)

Boil your pasta to al dente in heavily salted water.

Drain and rinse with cool water.

Toss in your veggies, meat and cheese.

Drizzle over your olive oil and balsamic, and toss in your spices. Give it a good stir. Serve cold.

Friends, this is not your mama's pasta salad.


Sarah St. John 4 years, 9 months ago

WHERE, oh where, do you find corkscrew pasta?? I have been looking for that for quite some time. (It makes homemade mac-and-cheese a lot more fun!)

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