Casa Beebe

Shamelessly Stolen Pasta Salad


Shamelessly Stolen Pasta Salad

Years ago, perhaps about 12 or 13, I was treated to a delicious and very simple pasta salad recipe by my friend Jenni.

Since that time, this pasta salad has become a summer staple at our house and is my “go to” recipe for large gatherings, camping, pot lucks, etc.

This recipe makes a very large salad, so make sure to use your largest bowl. I always manage to convince myself I don’t need my largest bowl and start in my smaller large bowl and then have to transfer everything to my largest bowl. Better to just start with the largest bowl!

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Super Simple Summer Pasta Salad … credit Jennifer (Brown) Laiblin

1 bag pasta, your choice of style (I prefer Rotini style)
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 15 oz can black olives
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cool water. Add pasta to your LARGEST bowl.

Add chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and olives to bowl.

Top with Italian dressing. Stir well and refrigerate. After about an hour, stir again.

When ready to serve top with shredded parmesan cheese.

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Okay, so that is the basic recipe. Here are some other tips or suggestions.

You can use any type or style of pasta. I like the Rotini style because it is easy to eat and holds onto the dressing well. If you choose to go with a whole wheat style pasta be aware that it will really suck up the dressing, so you may need to have a second bottle on hand to “freshen” up the salad.

Speaking of dressing, you can use any kind of Italian dressing that you like. I have used everything from the cheapest dollar store dressing to Newman’s own style. Currently I really like Kraft’s Tuscan Italian. It has a lot of good flavor without the super tart bite that many Italian dressings have.

Also, this is just a base idea. Feel free to add more or less of the vegetables, your own variety of vegetables or additions to suit your tastes, or use what you have on hand. For example, I like to add some dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, chopped red bell peppers, or green beans blanched and cooled and cut into pieces. The options are really up to you.

The parmesan cheese is a great addition, but if you don’t have any, don’t add it. I frequently make it without the parmesan cheese.

If you really wanted to go “Tuscan style” on this, change out the black olives for some Kalamata or other good olives, and add a bit of feta cheese.

I get compliments on this recipe everywhere I take it. People who don’t normally care for pasta salads love it. I encourage you to try it out for your next big gathering. Remember, it makes a BIG bowl, so if you make it for yourself you will be eating pasta salad leftovers for a week!

Thanks to my friend Jenni for sharing this recipe with me all those years ago. I think of you every single time I make it.

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2011 by in cooking, food, recipes.
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