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I think the best part about this pasta salad is the chunks of cheese and pepperoni. MMM! What a wonderful combination of ingredients. The seasonings and herbs in this recipe are so fresh. You are really going to love this side dish and your friends and family will, too…that is if you intend to share with them LOL! Seriously, I wanted to hoard this yummy pasta salad all to myself when I first made it. It was so yummy! Plus, it’s very easy to make. Don’t let the long ingredients list scare you.
My mother says this is the perfect pasta to take to a party. I couldn’t agree more. This pasta salad is the perfect dish to pass at a summer BBQ or picnic.
2 c Bertolli olive oil, extra virgin
1 c red wine vinegar
1 whole bay leaf
1 sprig(s) fresh rosemary
2 clove garlic, peeled, whole
2 clove garlic, peeled, & minced
3/4 tsp parsley, Italian
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp basil, dried
1/2 tsp thyme, dried
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp McCormick oregano, dried
1 lb pasta, Barilla tri-colored fusilli (cooked according to package directions, drained & cooled)
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1 large red onion, peeled & diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium yellow pepper, diced
4 medium roma tomatoes, dices
1 medium stick of pepperoni, paper removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick, then diced
1 can(s) medium black olives, drained & sliced
1-8 oz brick, mozzarella cheese
1-8 oz brick, Kraft sharp cheddar cheese
fresh grated romano cheese (add when serving)
1 bunch broccoli florets, chopped
1 sprig(s) rosemary, chopped
fresh oregano to taste, chopped
1. To make dressing: In a large glass jar or bottle with a lid, add whole garlic, bay leaf, & rosemary sprig. Add extra virgin olive oil & red wine vinegar. Add all remaining seasonings. Place lid on jar and shake gently to mix well. (Taste dressing & add adjust seasonings to your taste.) Refrigerate any unused dressing. NOTE: Dressing is best if left to sit 24 hours before
Colorful Party Pasta Salad
use. This allows the garlic & rosemary to infuse into the oil & vinegar. Homemade is best, but you can use your favorite Italian dressing as well.
2. Prepare pasta according to directions, drain, cool, & drizzle with a small amount of EVOO & set aside. NOTE: Pasta salad is very versatile, & if it’s a last minute request, I make with what I have on hand. I always have fresh vegetables in my fridge, & ingredients for Italian dressing. If I don’t have red or yellow peppers, I use extra green peppers. Sometimes I add celery too. It really just depends on what I have on hand. But the recipe herein is by far my favorite way to prepare this wonderful salad!
3. Chop all vegetables & add to pasta, mix in well.
4. Dice pepperoni & cheeses; add to pasta and vegetables. Fold in. Add fresh seasonings to taste.
5. Add Italian dressing & stir well. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving. Best if made the day beforehand.
6. Stir well and add fresh grated Romano cheese just before serving.
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Quick Tip: This wonderful pasta is very easy to double when feeding a crowd.