Monday, June 01, 2009

Never buy store made pasta salad again

I had obligated myself to bringing pasta salad to the aforementined birthday party. DH kindly said I should give myself a break and just buy it. The selection at the deli counter, however, was so, well, icky is the only word to describe it. One was too globby, one looked just paltry and another was dried out. There wasn't one I wanted to eat let alone serve anyone else! I was stuck in the store with no recipe just hours before the party so I decided to wing it. What should cooking be if not an adventure? I love what I came up with so much that I want to share it. It's more of a formula than a recipe. It should be easy enough for anyone to remember. It's flexible enough that forgetting an ingredient or two won't matter.

Basically it's this: salad dressing, pasta and some veggies. Make it fancier with mozerella cheese, shrimp or cooked chicken.

The one MUST is pasta! I used corkscrew pasta, although I think any of a number of others would be fine.

Next a couple of bottles of really good salad dressing - I used an Italian Vinegrette, Ceaser and Ranch. At home, I combined them in a bowl - I started out with 1/4 cup each and added a little more of my favorite (the Ranch) until it tasted right. I also added 2 tablespoons of mayonaise, which mellowed the flavor quite a bit. I might have added more, but I ran out.

I found that I about a cup of sauce per pound of pasta. You could use more or less depending on how saucy you like it.

Then I added:
Cherry tomatoes cut in half
Cucumbers sliced small
One can of chopped black olives

Toss the sauce and the veggies with the pasta and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.

Optional ingredients:

Mozzeralla cheese (cubed would be best but shredded works)
Red onion
shrimp or cooked chicken

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