Meet your new summer bestie:
A stupidly easy Italian pasta salad with rotini, juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red onion, salami, olives, herbs, and a drench of quick homemade Italian dressing.
If you want to know what I’ve eaten for 4 of my last 5 meals, it’s THIS SUMMER ESSENTIAL. We are kind of having a moment here.
In my mind, a nice classic pasta salad serves one of two scenarios:
Attending a picnic, potluck, or other end-of-summer-everyone-bring-something type party;
Addressing the leftover meat, cheese, and vegetables in my fridge and making them into a meal that I pretty much want to eat 24/7.
This pasta salad will do both for ya.
Just… some stuff.
It’s very flexible. These are my favorite pasta salad mix-ins:
Good, spicy salami. Yummy cheeses. Tomatoes or some other friendly non-threatening vegetable. Greens of some sort – even if it’s just fresh parsley. Olives and red onions and pepperoncini.
Also, we need pasta with good solid texture and shape to absorb all the sauce. I like rotini. (Also, DeLallo! It’s our favorite. The semi-rough texture Super easy Italian Pasta Salad – with pasta, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spicy salami, pepperoncini, olives, and easy Italian dressing. DANGEROUSLY GOOD.
Pasta Salad Essentials:
1 pound uncooked pasta – I like rotini!
3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half
1 lb. salami or summer sausage, cut into cubes
3/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
3/4 cup pepperoncini (optional, but do it)
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Italian Pasta Salad Dressing:
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar (white vinegar or red wine vinegar work)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (yes, tablespoons – see notes!)
2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons each dry oregano and dry basil
black pepper to taste
fresh herbs if you want! sometimes I add fresh parsley, basil, or chives.
Cook pasta according to package directions, in salted water for more flavor. Allow to cool slightly and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.
Blend up the dressing, or shake together in a jar.
Toss all ingredients together! I like to use about three-fourths of the dressing, and then I save the rest of the dressing to add to my leftovers.
Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I think it actually tastes best the day AFTER you make it.