Pasta salad is a great summer side dish, especially for big get-togethers, pot lucks, and your favorite backyard BBQ! Over Memorial Day, we had a fun little party with some friends and I brought this Italian pasta salad. It paired perfectly with our ribs, chips, and fruit! What I love about pasta salads is how easy they are to make. You don’t really even need a set recipe! 😉 But, I’ll go ahead and share what I usually do, which is quite yummy and usually well-received.
I start off with Rotini pasta. For a larger crowds (which is when I usually make this), I use two boxes (usually the 12oz size). Boil the pasta like normal, but do NOT overcook! No one likes mushy pasta salad! Once the pasta is done, drain and let it cool. While your pasta is cooking & cooling, get all your veggies ready. I always include always celery, carrots, fresh broccoli (usually parboiled first), fresh tomato, and black olives (all cut into small pieces). Asparagus (parboiled) is nice to include too if you like it. To spruce it up even more, I included marinated artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes. SO good! I got sent some samples of the Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes from Mooney Farms and they were the perfect addition to the pasta salad! I just throw everything together in a large bowl…a really large bowl. I try to do about 1 cup of each of the chopped veggies (a little less on the sun dried tomatoes). Once you have all the veggies you like in the salad, you can opt to add some grated Parmesan cheese (not the powder stuff, like the real stuff). For the cheese, add 1/2 cup to 1 cup, depending on how cheesy you want it. Then, add your favorite Italian dressing. I used about 1/2 cup of just a regular house Italian-style dressing, then about a 1/2 cup of a balsalmic vinaigrette. Mix everything well and refrigerate. If you can make this a good few hours ahead of time (or even the night before), it’s better. I usually let it sit for a while and then taste it to see if it needs any more dressing or anything. Just keep in mind that it’s better to start with a little less than put too much on initially. I personally like it with a little less dressing. A delicious way to use up fresh veggies! Have fun experimenting with different combinations and amounts. You can’t really go too wrong! Enjoy with your favorite summer meal! It’s great with grilled chicken!
For more recipes with sun-dried tomatoes (and a giveaway going on until 6/17/2013), click here: 10+ Sun-Dried Tomato Recipes
What veggies do you like in YOUR pasta salad?