Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Antipasto Pasta Salad with Basil Pesto Dressing

This is a staple in our house in the summer. I love antipasto platters...so why not put all that yummy stuff in a pasta salad, right?  This is just a base idea - you can really get creative if you want. Marinated artichoke hearts, olives, pepperoncini, salami? Yes! Anything goes!

Dressing Ingredients
1/4 cup of basil pesto - you can make your own or use a jarred one. I used Trader Joe's pesto this time b/c my basil plants aren't large enough yet.

1/2 cup of wine vinegar

Drizzle of olive oil

Just whisk them together and you're done!

Salad Ingredients
1 box of pasta
1 carrot - shredded
2 red peppers - diced
1 green pepper - diced
1/4 cup of mild giardiniera (or spicy if you want a little kick!) - chopped roughly
1/2 cup of sliced/diced pepperoni (turkey pepperoni are GREAT)
8 oz. of diced mozzarella cheese (or any other Italian cheese you like) - I used string cheese b/c it's what I had on hand
1/2 cup diced red onion
A handful of fresh herbs - minced - I used parsley and oregano. Basil would be great too :)

Other yummy things you can add: black or green olives, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, salami, celery - anything you like, really!

Get your pasta on to boil first. 

Once the dressing is made at the bottom of a large bowl, just start adding things into it!

Olives? Why not!

Mild Giardiniera is full of flavor and not spicy. It's crunchy and salty and fantastic in this salad.

When the pasta is done, drain it and MAKE SURE YOU RINSE IT WITH COLD WATER! Pasta salads always call for rinsed off pasta. Hot pasta? Don't rinse the noodles. The starch helps the sauce to stick to it. Cold pasta? Rinse so you don't have a sticky pasta salad and semi-cooked veggies from the hot pasta.

Combine well. Taste it! Does it need more pesto? Add it. Does it seem dry? Drizzle some olive oil on it.

This won't last long in your house. It doesn't make it more than a couple days in this house.

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