Friday, August 6, 2010

Easy Party Pasta Salad

Today I realized something crazy. I's August! Can you believe it??? neither.

Seriously, where has this year gone? It's already halfway over. We are on the downhill slide.

However, Summer is still in full swing. And it is HOT.

So what goes best with Summer? Cook outs of course! And we all know that no cook out is complete without at least ONE pasta salad right??

It's actually kind of funny because my pasta salad has been made and requested at least 3 times in the last couple of weeks (that I can remember).

I first learned about this pasta salad from a friend back in my former life as a bookseller. Over the years I've adapted it and made it mine. I even had to teach my sisters how to make it because my family loves it so.

I think most everyone has a version of this pasta salad, but I'm going to share mine with you. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients: tri-color rotini (because it's pretty), Monterey Jack cheese, cherry tomatoes, diced pepperoni, black olives, Italian dressing seasoning and Italian dressing (zesty Italian if you prefer). You will also need a bit of extra virgin olive oil but I didn't take a picture of it.

Start by bringing some water to a boil.

Toss in your pasta and cook as per the directions on the package.

When the pasta is finished, drain it...

And rinse thoroughly with cold water. The point is to cool the noodles here.

Once the pasta is cool, toss it into a bowl (I chose one with a lid that I would serve the salad from later).

Pour just a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil on the pasta so as to lightly coat them. This will help them to not stick together.

Toss in the Italian dressing seasoning.

And stir the pasta until well coated with the olive oil and seasoning. Now put the lid on and toss this in the fridge to chill the noodles completely and let the seasoning stick to the pasta and make it nice and flavorful.

After a couple hours (right before serving) drain the olives and throw them in the bowl with the pasta...

Then dump in the pepperoni...

And tomatoes.

And stir it all up.

Cut your cheese into chunks...

Toss them in the bowl...

And mix it up again.

Finally...dump in the Italian dressing...

Stir it all up...

Serve and enjoy! This is best eaten with your favorite cook out foods or even by itself. It's way yummy!

Easy Party Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb tri-color rotini
  • 1 packet Italian dressing seasoning
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can whole black olives; drained
  • 1 package diced pepperoni (if you can't find diced you can use sliced and just quarter the slices)
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes
  • 1 block Monterey jack cheese; cubed
  • 1 bottle Italian dressing (regular or zesty)
  1. Cook rotini as per directions on package, drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Toss pasta with a bit of extra virgin olive oil so noodles don't stick together. Add Italian dressing seasoning packet and mix until rotini is evenly coated with oil and seasoning; refrigerate until rotini is completely chilled (about 1 hour or more).
  3. Add black olives, pepperoni and tomatoes; stir until well combined.
  4. Immediately before serving add cubed cheese and Italian dressing; stir until well combined and fully coated.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
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