Monday, October 28, 2013
Antipasto Pasta Salad
Sometimes you are asked to bring “something simple, like a salad” to a cookout or potluck. Please, please make it yourself! Unless you get that request while you’re driving to the party there is no reason to bring store-bought. Pasta salads can be as varied as your imagination allows, but all too often they end up tasting the same, so let’s put some punch in our pasta.
First of all, we forego the typical pasta salad shapes (rigatoni, elbow, bowtie), in favor of one that will not fall apart – Gemelli. These little “twins” (“gemelli is one Italian word for “twins”), appear to be two tubes twisted tightly together. When cooked al denté they don’t break up, their spirals hold onto sauces and dressings and you can stir the heck out of them without ending up with a bowl full of pasta chips!
Secondly, we cook almost all of our ingredients to allow the flavors to mellow and produce a more pleasing feel on the tongue.
Try this salad as is and then next time you make it, get as creative as you want! I’ve left you a few suggestions for additions in the Tips and Trending section following the preparation steps.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
Yield: 8 Servings Preparation Time: 30 Minutes + Overnight Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
• 1 Pound Dry Gemelli Pasta
• 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 Medium Yellow Onion, cut in ½” dice
• 1 Large Clove Garlic, minced
• 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, cut in ½” dice
• 1 Red Bell Pepper, cut in ½” dice
• ½ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
• 1 Teaspoon Herbes de Provence
• 1 (14 Ounce) Jar or Can Artichoke Hearts, not marinated, cut in quarters
• 4 Ounces Kalamata Olives, pitted and cut in half
• ½ Cup Mayonnaise
• Kosher Salt
Step 1. Bring 4 quarts of generously salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Add the Gemelli and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water and let cool.
Step 2. While the Pasta is cooking, sauté the Onion, Garlic, and Peppers in the Olive Oil for 2 minutes, stir in Red Pepper Flakes and Herbes de Provence, remove from heat and let cool in pan.
Step 3. Combine the cooled Pasta and the Onion mixture using a rubber spatula to get all of the oil from the pan into the Pasta. Add the Artichokes and Olives and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight, or at least until chilled throughout.
Step 4. Stir in Mayonnaise and adjust seasoning with Kosher Salt, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tips and Trending
~ My family likes creamy pasta salads, but you can make this one without the mayonnaise if that’s your preference. You may want to add another tablespoon of olive oil to the salad as you’re combining all of the cooled ingredients.
~ Although not included in this salad, an antipasto usually includes some meats and cheeses. If you want to “beef” up this recipe try stirring in a ¼ pound of julienned pepperoni or salami and an equal amount of diced mozzarella just before serving.