Simple Way to Make Perfect Italian Pasta Salad
A lot of people love pasta salads. It’s an excellent combination of colorful and fresh vegetables and rich and delectable meats and dairy products. Unfortunately, most people would rather buy from their salad bars than make one at home. They do not know that an Italian pasta salad is very easy to make. Here’s how.
There are no rules when it comes to the noodles that will go into your pasta salad. Most people use rotini because of its remarkable ability to hold any kind of salad dressing. It has this unique curl that resemble that of a spring. It allows certain ingredients to sneak into the spiral. You can taste the cheese and the other ingredients of your Italian salad dressing with every bite.
If you are not a fan of rotini, you can use any other pasta that you like. Shells, farfalle or bow tie pasta, penne, or campanelle would be fine. Campanelle pasta has this unique curling along its outer edges. This can also help “catch” some of the ingredients of your salad.
The Other Ingredients
You can use any ingredient that you like in your Italian pasta salad. However, there are a few important things you need to observe.
First, go for bold flavors. Pasta does not have that much flavor. That is why you need to complement this with ingredients that have stronger flavors. Salami, cheese, Italian seasonings, and olives can help improve the flavor of your salad. You can also add sun-dried tomatoes and diced artichokes.
Second, make it colorful. Pick pasta that has different colors. You can also go for ingredients that come in various colors, such as bell peppers. Adding red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers in your salad are sure to make it more appetizing.
Third, do not forget the crunch. You will not get that from your pasta or meats. The only way you can add crunchy goodness to the best pasta salad is by using fresh vegetables. Cucumbers, greens, and bell peppers can give you that crunch. However, do not overload your salad with vegetables. Keep in mind that the salad base is the pasta.
The Salad Dressing
Part of how to make pasta salad is the dressing. There are Italian salad dressings that you can buy from the grocery. However, making your own dressing is also very easy. It only requires blending the different ingredients together to ensure consistency of flavor.
The dressing contains acids. They help in breaking down proteins and starches. These substances can add greater depth of flavor to your pasta dish. They also serve to “tenderize” your pasta. That is why it is best not to overcook your pasta. They can turn mushy once you add the dressing and let the salad sit overnight in the refrigerator.
An Easy Italian Recipe You Can Try
This easy pasta salad recipe we are going to share with you can serve as a blueprint for your own creation. Keep in mind that there are no strict rules as to what you can include in your salad. If you want to go Vegan, then you will only need to use the appropriate ingredients. It would be best to make this salad at least a day before you plan to serve it. For example, if you are entertaining guests on a Sunday, you may want to make this easy pasta salad on Saturday evening.
Ingredients for the Pasta Salad:
- 1 pound of your chosen pasta, uncooked
- 1 pound of salami, cut into small cubes
- 3 cups of fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese balls, halved
- ¾ cup pepperoncini
- ¾ cup of sliced kalamata olives
- ½ cup of sliced fresh parsley
- ½ cup of sliced red onion
- ¼ cup of diced green bell pepper
- ¼ cup of diced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup of diced orange bell pepper
Ingredients for the Italian Dressing:
- 1.5 cups of extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup of water
- ¼ cup of white vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of dry basil
- 2 teaspoons of dry oregano
- Freshly ground pepper
- Read the instructions for the cooking of your pasta. Don’t forget to add salt in the water to enhance the flavor of your pasta. Drain the water from the pasta and let it cool down. Drizzle a little amount of oil to prevent the pasta from clumping or sticking.
- Pour the ingredients for the Italian salad dressing in a jar. Cover the jar tightly and shake well. You can also use a blender to mix everything.
- Put the pasta salad recipe ingredients in a large salad bowl. Mix. Pour the salad dressing over the salad. You can use only three-quarters of the salad dressing and save the rest for potential leftovers. Toss the ingredients very well. Make sure that the dressing coats every bit of ingredient that you have in the bowl.
- Refrigerate your simple pasta salad recipe for a minimum of 2 hours before you serve them to your family. Most people will refrigerate their salads for a minimum of 24 hours before they start enjoying it. It is much more flavorful this way. After all, they do not call this a cold pasta salad if you are going to eat it right after making it.
A Few More Pointers in Making a Great Italian Pasta Salad
While making an Italian pasta salad is easy, there are a few reminders that you have to observe.
- Never overcook your pasta. Once cooked, you can douse your pasta with ice cold water. This will prevent the pasta from cooking further.
- Never combine your ingredients if the pasta is still warm. The heat will “cook” your ingredients and lead to a less-than-satisfying salad.
- Cut your ingredients into smaller pieces. This ensures that you get each type of ingredient in every mouthful.
- Do not underestimate the power of a colorful dish. We always eat with our eyes first. Do not be afraid to add more color to your cold pasta salad.
Making a great Italian pasta salad is as easy as combining all your chosen ingredients together. Letting the salad cool for several hours is key to serving a nutritious and scrumptious pasta salad.