My husband’s side of the family will certainly recognize this one. I made this pasta salad last summer for my father-in-law’s birthday party, and have since been informed that I will be making this for all future family get-togethers. It doesn’t really have a name, and there’s no official recipe written down anywhere, but it came into being when I combined two different pasta salad recipes: one made by an old college roommate and one that my mom throws together every now and then. Feel free to jazz it up any way you see fit. This is how I usually go about making it.
1 box short cut pasta (I generally use rotini)
1-2 bell peppers, depending on size
1 small red onion
A few ribs of celery
1 8 oz. block of sharp cheddar cheese
1 16 oz. bottle Italian Dressing (usually the Kraft Zesty Italian, either low- or full fat will do just fine; and don’t worry, you probably won’t use the whole thing!)
McCormick Perfect Pinch Salad Supreme seasoning, to taste
It’s pretty simple. Just boil some water, add the pasta, and cook according to directions on the package. While the water boils and the pasta cooks, you can get started chopping the add-ins.
I like to give my bell peppers, onions, and celery a large dice before tossing them into the bottom of a large bowl/serving dish. You’ll be thankful you used a big bowl when it comes time to toss everything together. Cube the cheddar and toss it into the bowl as well.
Once the pasta is cooked, I like to put it in a colander and cool it off a bit by running some cold water over it. That way the cheese doesn’t start melting immediately upon contact with the noodles.
Once the noodles are cooled (or at least not steaming anymore, if you’re like me and can’t wait any longer), add them to the bowl on top of the veggies and cheese. Toss everything up from the bottom to make sure that everything is well-distributed throughout.
Next add about half of the bottle of Italian dressing to the salad. Toss it up a bit, and then add the the Salad Supreme seasoning and toss again. The bottle of seasoning says to add like 1/4 cup, but I never measure. Usually I just add a bit, mix it up, and taste as I go until it’s where I’d like it to be.
Make sure to hang onto that leftover salad dressing. If you leave the pasta salad sit for any length of time (in the fridge or otherwise), the noodles tend to soak it all up, and you’ll need to add more to make sure it isn’t so dry just prior to serving. Feel free to throw some more of the Salad Salad seasoning in there before serving, too.
And there you have it! Though this pasta salad is especially good during the summer months with picnic-y food, it’s great year round. It’s also really easy to adjust the recipe, depending upon how many people you’ll be serving.