Italian Pasta Salad

I love pasta salads.  They are so versatile.  You can flavor them in so many different ways.  They are a perfect side dish in the summer!

I decided to go Italian style with this pasta salad.  I brought it (along with last week’s gazpacho) to my family gathering of very picky eaters.  I thought it would be great and not too much to handle for my family members.  Thankfully, I was right.  (That’s not to say there weren’t any difficulties.  One person removed all their olives…another, all their cucumbers and tomatoes!!)

I would have preferred to use tri-color rigatoni.  I thought I had it in my pantry.  I was wrong.  Regular rigatoni worked; the tri-color just would have added a little something more.  A great thing about this recipe is how quick it is to make.  Start chopping while the pasta cooks.  Let the pasta cool, combine everything, and you’re good to go!

  • Start by boiling some water.  Salt it and add 1 box of rotini (regular or tri-colored…it’s your call!).  Cook according to the directions on the box.  Drain when finished cooking.

  • Set the pasta aside to cool.  *TIP: I added a little of the Italian dressing I was using in the salad to the hot pasta and mixed it up.  This helped to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

  • While the pasta is cooking, chop up 1 English cucumber, halve a pint of grape tomatoes, halve about .6 pounds of small mozzarella balls, and chiffonade a good amount of fresh basil.

  • When the pasta is cooled almost to room temperature add 1 small can of black olives (drain it first).

  • Next, add the cucumbers.

  • Then drop in the tomatoes.

  • Add the mozzarella.

  • Finish with the ribbons of basil.

  • Mix everything together.

  • Season with pepper (and salt if you’d like).

  • Last, add 1 cup (or more) of your favorite Italian dressing.  I used Ken’s  (A balsamic vinaigrette would work well too.)

  • Mix one last time.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Before you serve, grate some Parmesan cheese into the salad.  Stir and enjoy!

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