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Gourmet Pasta Salad

  • Category: Salad
  • Submitted By: Isaac Owsley
  • Town/State: Sonora, CA
  • Serves: 6 – 10
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Cooking time: 7 – 10 minutes

Pasta salad is one of those recipes that seem to define summertime. It is filling and hearty and at the same time cool and refreshing, best of all it can be made a day ahead of time in under 25 minutes leaving you plenty of time to devote to visiting with friends and family members. While this salad can be made any time of the year, one of the things that makes it so well suited for summertime is the almost endless variety of fresh vegetables that can be added to the mix and add their own unique character to the finished result. Try this and see how fast it disappears.

Amount Measure Ingredients
4 cups Pasta (Spaghetti, Capellinni, Rotini, or Bow-Tie all work well)
1 cup garlic marinated mushrooms, sliced
1 cup marinated Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup assorted olives, (Nicoise, Picholine, garlic stuffed, Kalamata, feta stuffed)
1/4 cup marinated red peppers, sliced
2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced
2 cups ripe tomatoes, quartered and sliced (about 2 medium tomatoes)
3 cups string beans, blanched (you can use frozen)
1 cup sweet red onion, sliced thin
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups zesty Italian dressing, (I use Hidden Valley Ranch or Wishbone brand)
1 tsp dried basil (or ¼ cup chopped fresh sweet basil)
2 Tbsp roasted garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Salt

To prepare:

Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente, drain pasta into a colander over the sliced red onions to blanch them. Place pasta into a large glass or other non metallic bowl and add in the mushrooms, olives, and remaining vegetables. Whisk together the Italian dressing, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, crushed roasted garlic, and salt and pepper then pour over the pasta and vegetables. Toss to mix well and then cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or preferably overnight. Serve well chilled.