I know the 4th of July has come and gone (I'll need to remember to do some kind of roundup before the holiday next year), but there are still plenty of cookout days left this summer. And if you aren't a big fan of creamy (read: mayo-based) pasta salads, this one has your name written all over it.
We invited our friends C & D over on July 4. They brought their two sons and all three kids had a blast running through the sprinkler and dunking themselves in the pool. Toddlers are the best, aren't they? While the kids played and tore apart our house, the adults gorged themselves on delicious food. Over time I've learned that D is a picky eater. He's an Italian who doesn't like raw tomatoes. Yeah. I know. But in the time I've known him I've come to learn what things he'll like and this Antipasti Pasta Salad was right up his alley.
As soon as they got to our house and I unveiled the pasta salad, D grabbed a plate and piled it high with big, heaping spoonfuls of this pasta salad. And then cleared his plate. I think he alone ate half the bowl. It always makes me smile when company likes my cooking.
This couldn't have been simpler to make. All the ingredients are ready to eat so the only cooking you're doing is making the pasta. I cut up all the add-ins the night before so all I had to do was cook the pasta and toss everything together to let it chill for a few hours. Simple and extremely delicious. We all gobbled this up but thankfully it makes a ton of food so there was plenty to send home with D in addition to serving as a side dish for the next night's meal.
Antipasti Pasta Salad
As seen in Everyday Food
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 pound short twisted pasta, such as campanelle
8 ounces fresh mozzarella or bocconcini, cut into bite-size pieces
2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
10-15 black olives, cut into slices
10 artichoke hearts, quartered
1/4 small red onion, minced
2 ounces thinly sliced salami, sliced into thin strips
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta.
Return pasta to pot and stir in mozzarella, peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, onion, salami, tomatoes, vinegar, oil, and reserved pasta water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: Try this pasta dish with other antipasti ingredients such as tuna, provolone, anchovies, capers, or marinated mushrooms.