Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tri-Color Italian Rotini Pasta Salad

Tri-color rotini pasta is paired with red onion, celery, green and red bell pepper, black olives, chopped tomato and dressed with an Italian dressing.

Tri-Color Italian Rotini Pasta Salad

Here's another pasta salad for the recipe box. The first one I posted was a Creamy Pasta Salad version, and my attempt at duplicating a local restaurant's menu item. This one is made using Italian dressing and no mayonnaise.

In my thinking, the vegetables listed are the basics and to be added upon - of course, you can mix and match whatever veggies are your own favorites, or what you happen to have on hand or find at the market. Focus on fresh, raw veggies for the most part - though a handful of frozen peas are great - and preferably what's in season. It's a fantastic pasta salad for when those peppers and tomatoes start to come in.

I like to have chunks of crunchy veggies in my pasta salad, but chop as thin as you like! You can also switch up the pasta - I like the tri-color rotini pasta for this recipe, but wagon wheels or shells are nice too. I also use a homemade dressing, or the Good Seasons envelope seasoning to make up my own Italian dressing, but a bottled commercial dressing works great too.

By the way, this pasta salad is great on its own but fantastic with boiled shrimp tossed in. Just add in about one pound of small, boiled, peeled shrimp at the end, right before chilling.

Check out more of my pasta salad recipes on Pinterest!

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Recipe: Tri-Color Italian Rotini Pasta Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Inactive time: 6 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound package of tri-color rotini pasta
  • 1/2 of a medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of medium pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1 cup of commercial or homemade Italian dressing
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, to garnish
  • Crumbled bacon, to garnish, optional

Boil the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse well. To the drained pasta, add all of the chopped vegetables, except for the tomatoes. Stir in the Italian dressing and mix all together well. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, add the chopped tomato, toss and then sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon. Store leftovers in the fridge and refresh with additional Italian dressing as needed.

Shrimp Add-in: Add in 1 pound of boiled shrimp, fresh or frozen; lightly boil in water, salt, liquid crab boil and lemon for about 4 minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Drain and set aside to cool; peel. You'll add these with the Italian dressing. If you're using the frozen precooked shrimp, you'll just need to thaw them, then add them, but taste and adjust seasonings.

Other Optional Add-ins: Diced cucumber, zucchini or squash, chopped garlic, drained, small jar of chopped pimento, small jar of water-packed artichokes, quartered, 1/2 cup drained, cooked garbanzo beans, 1 tablespoon capers, cubed mozzarella, and/or substitute halved cherry or grape tomatoes for the diced.

Greek Pasta Salad Variation: Add 2 cups of fresh spinach, torn, omit Parmesan cheese and substitute 1 (8 ounce) container of crumbled feta cheese, use Kalamata olives in place of black and substitute 1 cup bottled Greek dressing.

Source: http://www.deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on April 28, 2009
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