This Italian pasta salad combines summer’s favorite vegetables with chopped salami, black olives, rotini noodles and tangy Italian dressing.
How to make Italian pasta salad
How long can you keep Italian pasta salad in the fridge?
This pasta salad should last five days in the refrigerator. Personally, I think a pasta salad always taste better the next day because it’s soaks up the dressing and the flavors are so much more pronounced.
How do you keep Italian pasta salad from drying out?
The key is cooking the noodles until they are al dente, just right. Then be sure to rinse them in cold water to remove any excess starch. The opposite is true when you are serving pasta as a warm dish.
Ingredients you’ll need for this side dish:
- Pasta. The traditional style of noodle is the rotini or corkscrew shaped pasta, but any kind will do such as macaroni noodles, or Campanelle pasta.
- Salami. I will splurge and head straight to the deli counter to order freshly cut salami. That way you can order it as thick or thin as you prefer. Chop it up and toss it into the salad. If you prefer a spicy meat, go with pepperoni.
- Black olives. I love the briny taste of black olives but green would work just as well. Sliced or whole pitted are fine for this recipe.
- Sweet bell pepper. Any kind of sweet bell pepper can be added to this pasta salad, just stick with red, yellow or orange for the sweetest flavor.
- Parmesan cheese. I am partial and stay away from the stuff in the green container. I prefer freshly shaved Parmesan cheese from the deli counter. Look there for the good stuff.
- Red onion. I typically prefer a sweet Vidalia onion but for this recipe you want the stronger flavor. Use your best judgement and add as much or little to give a punch of flavor without being to strong.
- Cucumber. I prefer a seedless variety but do grab whatever is on sale.
- Tomatoes. Stick to the grape variety. They are easier to slice and don’t create too much juice in the bottle of the bowl.
- Basil. I grow fresh basil in my garden. There is nothing like freshly grown basil for maximum flavor.
- Italian dressing. Make your own or grab a bottle of your favorite from the grocery store. Add a little and add more if needed. No one likes pasta salad swimming in dressing. This Italian dressing recipe can be stored in the fridge for over a week.
More great pasta salads for your get together:
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Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound box of rotini noodles
- 1 cup chopped salami
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 seedless cucumber, chopped
- 1 (10 ounce) container grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Italian dressing
To make the dressing:
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Boil the noodles according to the package directions. Drain the noodles under cold water and set aside.
- Chop the bell peppers, red onion, grape tomatoes and cucumbers and place into a medium-size bowl.Add in the chopped salami, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and Italian dressing. Toss to coat.
- Refrigerate the pasta salad for an hour or until ready to serve.
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