Monday, March 12, 2012

Pasta Salad

This is one of my favorite "go-to" recipes whenever I need a side for a party or potluck that feeds a lot of people! It is a guaranteed crowd pleaser 
and I always have the ingredients (more or less) on hand. 

What's great about this recipe too, is it is a total 
throw in whatever you have in the fridge kind of salad.
 Definitely my favorite kind. 
The only requirements to have for sure, are pasta and Italian dressing. 


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And now that it is getting warmer outside (at least here in Austin) this is such a great side by the pool with burgers or for a spring time picnic. 

I always use different pastas every time I make this just for fun.  I particularly loved the colored versions since it gives it just a little more oomph. 

Perfect Pasta Salad
The Apron Gal

Serves 12 (recipe can easily be halved) 

Ingredients
1 pound preferred pasta (shown above is Conchiglie) penne, bow-tie, spiral, etc.
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium head broccoli, torn into small "trees"
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup cheese, cut into small chunks (mozzarella, Colby, cheddar, whatever you want!)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
5 large pieces pepperoni (cut into fourths) optional
2 bottles Italian dressing or a batch of your favorite Italian salad dressing recipe (most likely you will only need 1 bottle but I usually add some additional dressing right before serving so its adequately dressed.)

Feel free to substitute or omit any of the above vegetables, these are just my favorite combination. You could also include olives, artichokes, roma tomatoes, etc.

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. 

Cut up all vegetables and cheese and then toss with cooled pasta in large bowl. 

Add Parmesan cheese and 1 bottle of Italian dressing. 

Let marinate at least 4 hours, or even better, overnight.

Re-stir before serving as pasta will stick together some and dressing will sink to bottom. Taste to see if some additional dressing from 2nd bottle is necessary (this depends on how much dressing you like!).

Enjoy!


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