Pasta salad is a great potluck dish. It keeps well, the flavor packs a nice punch, and it is endlessly variable. This is my mom’s recipe, which I still make mostly the way she does. My one update is to make the Italian dressing from a homemade seasoning mix instead of buying a seasoning packet. Now I know exactly what’s in it!
What you need:
- 1 box rotini or other shape pasta (penne or shells would work well)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 can black olives, drained
- 2-3 carrots, chopped
- 1/2 head broccoli, chopped
- cherry tomatoes, optional
- Italian dressing (store-bought or homemade)
- Mrs. Dash
- Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- large pot for cooking pasta and colander
- large bowl and spoon
- cutting board and knife
Time: 20 minutes to cook pasta and prep remaining ingredients, a few hours to chill
Serves: A crowd. For a side dish, about 12-16.
Multiplying the recipe: Yes, but make sure your bowl is big enough!
Put a large pot of water on to boil. When the water is boiling, add a bit of salt and then the pasta. After the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it well.
While the water is heating, prepare the salad dressing and the vegetables.
Add the hot, drained pasta to a large bowl. Stir in about 1/2 c. salad dressing. Add the vegetables and remaining seasonings to taste. Mix in more salad dressing as desired. (I usually hold some in reserve to add when serving, as the pasta does soak up the dressing, which can make it seem dry.)
Cover and chill for a few hours to meld the flavors.