*Apologies for missing last month. I am still not sure how I managed to miss the month about fooooood. FOOD! Geeze. Luckily, I was smart enough not to miss the last day to play in Food Part 2.
Pasta salad can be one of the most boring sides. I never pick it at bbq's or restaurants when there are other options. And grocery store pre-packed pasta salad is beyond dull.
I have managed to find a beautiful alternative to this ho-hum dish. Over the last ten years or so I have been making and tweaking and re-tweaking until I have finally settled upon two versions.
I make Good Pasta Salad for big parties and small gaterings. It's both tasty and affordable.
If I'm making it just for me or for a very small group, I make My Best Pasta Salad. It is delicious and about the same price as the Good Pasta Salad, there's just less of it.
I'm going to a BBQ at some friends' house later this afternoon. So I made the Good Pasta Salad. I'm going to put the ingredient differences for the Best version (in parenthesis.)
My Good Pasta Salad (My Best Pasta Salad)
2 bags of garden rotini pasta (1 bag of garden rotini pasta) 1 block of cheddar cheese diced (1 block of your favorite gourmet cheese. Mine is white Irish cheddar.) 1 very large or 2 small to medium bell peppers, any variety, diced (1 medium red or gold bell pepper) 1 red onion diced (Onion of your choice, diced. I've also added chives and scallions with good success.) 1 package Oscar Meyer bacon pieces (Your very favorite fresh bacon, fried and then chopped into pieces. About six slices. More if you like.) 1 bottle of Kraft Bacon Ranch (Paul Newman's Ranch. Or Briannas. Or other gourmet ranch of your choice. I sometimes will also add a quarter cup of mayo for the extra bit of creamy.) (1 can of all white meat chicken) (Thinly sliced radishes) Salt and Pepper to taste
Boil pasta and rinse until cold. Refrigerate. Dice veggies and cheese. Mix veggies and cheese into cooled pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in dressing. (Mix in chicken, radishes and any other fresh veggies you thought might go well.) Done.
I have found that this recipe for My Good Pasta Salad makes more than enough to take to a medium-sized party (think 15-20 people.) So what I do, is take 1/4 of the pasta and put it in a separate bowl from the beginning and make some to keep at home. I then add a little more of this and little less of that, depending on my mood.
You have to eat a small bowl immediately, of course. But the rest keeps in the fridge very well for the whole week.
And now I can't wait until it's gone so I can start thinking about making My Best Pasta Salad just for me.