Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Italian Pasta Salad

We were hosting FHE on Monday and trying to decide what to mom kept bringing up potato items when we already had chips on hand. So, I mentioned this pasta salad, and after much coaxing, she let me try it. I looked at recipes online, then created my own version. It turned out delicious and light and was even better the next day. Here's the simplified, fairly non trial-and-error version for you.

Italian Pasta Salad
2-3 cups cooked pasta, cooled slightly (I was in the mood for bowties, so I did bowties)
1 c. of any of the following vegetables sliced:
snap peas
shredded carrots*
grape/cherry tomatoes*
baby spinach leaves
green onions or red onion (1/3-1/2 c. only)*
broccoli florettes*
bell pepper*
1 pkt. italian dressing mix
1/2 c. water
2-3 T. oil
optional: diced fresh herbs; such as basil*, oregano, parsley*, and chives*
2 T.-1/4 c. parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper, and sugar to taste

Place all vegetables in bowl and pour warm pasta on top. Add any fresh herbs you may be using, and allow to stand so the heat of the pasta can warm the rest. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese. In small bowl or measuring cup, whip dressing mix, water, and oil quickly and pour over pasta, veggies, and herbs, tossing to coat. Taste and add salt, pepper, and sugar (if it tastes too acidic) as needed. If you get rather crazy with the veggies as I did, you can either add another pkt. of dressing mix, or whatever is on hand (I threw in fresh lemon, garlic powder, celery salt, and a little sugar until it was sassy enough). Refrigerate until needed (the trick is to give it plenty of time for the flavors to meld together, as I said, mine was much better the next day). Toss before serving.
*used in my salad

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