Obvious Pasta Salad

This recipe isn’t anything earth shattering, but I wanted to share it anyway since I was very happy with the way it turned out. I basically turned an antipasto into a pasta salad — nothing new. This made enough to serve at a cookout (there weren’t many other sides), with some leftovers for a couple of lunches. It kept very well, and didn’t get mushy, and I thought the flavors were great.
Start by cooking 1 box of pasta – I like to use rotini for pasta salad, as they hold up pretty well. Make sure you pay attention to the pasta and get it out of the pot when it’s al dente, otherwise you will wind up serving pasta mush. Rinse it with cold water for a couple of minutes to stop it from cooking, let it cool a bit, then add the following (all the jarred stuff should be drained and roughly chopped):

  • 1 cup of stuffed green olives
  • 6 ounce can of black olives
  • 12 ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts
  • 7 ounce jar of roasted red peppers
  • 8 ounces of mozzarella, diced (provolone would also work well)
  • 2 cups of tomatoes, chopped (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/4 pound of thick-sliced hard salami, chopped (if you are nice like me, you can put this on the side for your vegetarian friends)
  • lots of fresh basil and oregano (or whatever fresh herbs you like)

Then whisk together and mix in:

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

The dressing was the perfect amount – only a tiny bit collected at the bottom of the container (speaking of which, if you make this as I have it here, you will want a giant container or bowl for it).

I didn’t add any salt because there is more than enough in the rest of the ingredients. I also didn’t go particularly upscale when I made this – if you wanted, you can get higher-quality green olives (I used large, jarred Goya olives), and kalamata olives (instead of the canned black California kind), but there is enough going on with this that I’m not sure the substitutions would make a huge difference.

Obviously you can omit anything you don’t like, and add anything you want. For some crunch, it might be nice to add some fresh green beans that are barely blanched in the pasta water, or maybe some asparagus. Next time I make this, I might omit the mozzarella, as I didn’t think that it really added much. (Although a smoked mozzarella, which is what I wanted to use but couldn’t find at the grocery store, might hold its own a bit more.)