Just because something tastes great does not mean it has to be complicated to make. The Tiny Kitchen Big Taste Pasta Salad is a perfect example of that.
I am a big pasta salad fan! I’m also a bit of a pasta salad snob. Maybe snob is not the right word. I am…particular. Yeah. That’s it. 🙂 Because of that, I’m particular about whether or not a pasta salad is going to make it on my plate. And, frankly, I’d rather pass on the pasta salad if it’s that overcooked, tasteless pasta salad with the limp, tasteless red peppers and the soft, tasteless Salami in the muted, tasteless Italian dressing…you know, that dressing with those fake looking dehydrated spices in it. Seriously all you can taste is dressing.
It just screams, “Blaaaaaah!” Am I right? In today’s World, “Blaaaaaah” just doesn’t cut it…especially when there are tons of great tasting ingredients that are just primed to make a perfect pasta salad in a matter of minutes.
I created this recipe several years back for Easter at the Hollywood Bowl. After church, we would always celebrate Easter with a picnic at the Bowl. One year, I decided I was going to make pasta salad and so I started digging through the pantry and the fridge and started pulling out my favorite items that I thought would be perfect in pasta salad. All the ingredients that I selected remain in the current version of the Pasta Salad, with the exception of the Salami. Over the years, I’ve made it with both Salami and Pepperoni and the Pepperoni always seems to be the favorite.
The key to the Tiny Kitchen Pasta Salad is the dressing. It’s our Homemade Shallot Vinaigrette, which is so easy to make with a fresh shallot, olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. That’s it!! It’s another example of how great taste does not have to be complicated to make.
A couple of serving tips. First, if you make this the day before, you may have to add a little more salad dressing as the pasta tends to absorb it. Also, try some of it heated for a few seconds in the microwave…mmm. So good.
Hot or cold, though, this one’s a winner. And with National Picnic Month approaching (yep, August is National Picnic Month…who knew?!?), this Pasta Salad will be a perfect match to any picnic.
I can’t wait for you to try it and let me know what you think.
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- 12 ounces Tricolored Rotini (cooked al dente in heavily salted water)
- 3 ounces Black Olives
- 2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
- 4 ounces Pepper-Jack Cheese
- 1 Tablespoon Capers
- 10-15 slices Pepperoni
- 1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 cup Shallot Vinaigrette
YOU'LL ALSO NEED:
- Mixing Bowl
- Mixing Spoon
- Can Opener
- Sharp Knife
- Boil pasta in heavily salted water for one minute less than package directions. Strain and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. (Do not rinse.) Place in large Mixing Bowl.
- Slice olives into rings. Add to Pasta.
- Stack Pepperoni and cut into strips. Add to Pasta.
- Cut Pepper-Jack into small rectangular cubes. Add to Pasta.
- Add toasted Pine Nuts, Capers and Parmesan Cheese to Pasta.
- Add Shallot Vinaigrette and mix thoroughly. (Note: If you're making in advance, you may have to add a little extra Shallot Vinaigrette at the time of serving as the Pasta tends to absorb it.)