Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Creamy shell pasta salad

Pasta + veggies + salami + creamy goodness

Oh my heavens, this pasta salad. I love my Aunt Kathy's Italian pasta salad recipe, but wanted a change of pace for Fritz and Tim's barbecue. My search on Pinterest resulted in Mom's Macaroni Salad. I tweaked it slightly, adding more stuff than the original recipe calls for. It turned into a giant bowl of creamy deliciousness. The kind of thing where I snitched one noodle, then another, then another, then told myself aloud "I'm done now" — then went back for more anyway. We're lucky any of this made it to the barbecue really.

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1 box large shells or macaroni
2/3 to 3/4 cup matchstick carrots, chopped
2/3 to 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 to 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 to 1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
6 to 8 oz. block of cheddar cheese, cubed
1/4 to 1/2 lb. genoa salami, chopped

1 and 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 TBS dijon mustard
2 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper, plus more to taste

Cook the pasta, drain, and rinse under cold water. Mix up the dressing (I combined the ingredients in a 2-cup measure and mixed with a fork). Combine the cooled pasta, chopped stuff, and dressing in a large bowl and fold together. 

*Note: If you're making the pasta to serve almost immediately, you won't need all of the dressing. I found that 1/2 of the dressing was enough to make it yummy. But after sitting in the fridge overnight, the dressing dried up and I had to add more before serving. So if the salad will be sitting overnight in the fridge, either add 3/4 to all of the dressing right away (it should dry up just enough to be the perfect amount), or add 1/2 of the dressing and more to taste just before serving. In the end, I used just 3/4 of the total dressing — that way the salad was never sitting in pools of mayo. But I'd still make the whole amount just to be safe! 

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This pasta salad is impossible to keep around for very long and got lots of compliments and recipe requests. I'm more than a little obsessed with it. In fact, I selfishly put some aside for me and my family to share later, since I guessed that whatever I brought to the barbecue would be gone by the end of the night — and I was right! 

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