Monday, January 25, 2010

Italian Pasta Salad

This salad is refreshing as a side dish any season of the year, but tastes especially fresh in the middle of winter! Experiment with various fresh vegetables that are in season and also the type of bottled dressing. Tastes good with Ranch dressing too.

1 box (12 oz) Garden Rotini noodles, cooked (al dente) and rinsed with cold water
Chopped fresh vegetables such as broccoli, green onion, red and green bell pepper, celery, carrots, grape tomatoes (chopped in half), seedless cucumber, sliced black olives - total of around 3-4 cups
1 bottle Italian dressing (Zesty or regular) -- prefer oil-based, but can use water-based
Extra dried Italian spice (around 2 tsp)
Freshly ground black pepper

At least an hour before serving, but no more than 24 hours, cook and cool noodles and mix with 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Chill in the refrigerator

Add fresh vegetables and mix with additional Italian dressing until glossy, but dressing should not settle to the bottom of the bowl. Season with additional spice and black pepper.

Chill until ready to serve. Makes 10 side dish servings or 6 dinner servings. Can add cut-up cheese and salami or pepperoni to make into a main dish.

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