Love is a Delicious Thing + Recipe for Antipasto Pasta Salad

Aha, it’s a funny name isn’t it? The thing is, antipasto is usually what is served as an appetizer – “before the meal” – not anti pasta as in not pasta. Typically, antipasto includes a variety of things: cured meats, peperoncini, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, cheeses, olives, the list goes on…

I’ve spoken before about how I am a combination of both of my parents – analytical from my dad’s side and I get my creative side from my mom. This recipe is just like me! It’s a combination of two recipes I grew up making with my parents – separately.

My dad and I used to make a great pasta salad with artichoke hearts, chunks of salami and cheddar cheese, all combined with rainbow rotini and some balsamic vinaigrette. That’s probably one of the only recipes my dad has come up with on his own – love you dad!

Meanwhile, my mom and I used to make antipasto salad all the freaking time. To this day, it is the food I crave the most – I crave it when I am homesick and I crave it when I haven’t felt good and am finally on the mend. There is a long running joke between my mom and I (plus, anyone I’ve ever lived with – hey college roomies!) because I would get cravings for this salad along with steak and asparagus SUPER LATE at night and I would beg my mom to make it for me. Sure, I could have made it myself, but doesn’t salad always taste so much better when someone else prepares it?

So anyway, what was I saying? That this recipe is a combination of two great memories and recipes from my parents – into one rather beautiful meal.

I hope that you all enjoy it and that it earns a special place in your family meals and memories to come – the way it has a special place for me and my family.

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Antipasto Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 25 min Cook Time: 10 minutes Serves: 4-6 (yay leftovers to take to work the next day!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package Barilla Tri-Color Rotini
  • 1 Jar of Marinated Artichoke Hearts (12 ounce)
  • 1 Packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
  • 3-4 ounces Mozzarella or Swiss Cheese
  • 1 Can Sliced Black Olives
  • 1/4 Head of Red Cabbage
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes
  • 10 ounces Summer Sausage
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Water

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Method:

  • Cook pasta as directed*
  • Prepare Italian dressing as directed. I still can’t find my shaker, so I used a small mason jar.
  • Drain the olives and the artichoke hearts.
  • Remove seeds from Roma tomatoes and discard. Chop tomatoes.
  • Chop the cabbage.
  • Cut cheese and sausage into small cubes.
  • Combine everything but the dressing in a large bowl and toss with pasta.
  • Add a little dressing at a time – I usually use about half of the prepare dressing. You want enough to disperse throughout but not have your pasta swimming around in the stuff (well, maybe that is what some people want)
  • Serve immediately or chill before serving.

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I love making a big bowl of this pasta because it actually gets better the next day and the next day – great to pack for a quick and easy lunch.

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*I read on the Barilla box “cooks to al dente perfection in seven minutes” and thought I’d put it to the test. I first boiled my water (with a little salt and olive oil to prevent noodle mush and stick-age) and once I had a nice rolling boil going I added in the noodles – turned the heat down to medium and set the timer. Low and behold seven minutes later I had perfectly cooked noodles. Weird! These people know what they’re talking about! ;) I usually just stand around the kettle waiting for the noodles to get done – taste testing every 20 seconds. Ah, now I know! Just follow the instructions what a novel idea!

Do you have a family meal that incites memories at the mere thought of or whenever you make it now?

I have several and I think that’s one of the reasons cooking is so special to me and why I love cooking with Nick and the kids. I have so many great memories of frosting cut out cookies with my mom, rolling pie dough with grandma, making split pea soup with my dad, making brownies with “Grandma Vera” and chicken soup with “Grandma Jeanette” – I could go on and on – the smells, the tastes, they are with me forever! Love is a delicious thing :)

Just one meal left in the Ten Summer Meals in 30 Minutes or Less series! Another pasta salad: Mango Chicken!

Comments

  1. Brenda says:

    I love this, Kim. I never thought of putting pasta in your favorite salad. It looks soooo good. I want some “right now”.

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