Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Known as a Suddenly Salad copycat, this pasta salad made with small shell pasta, ranch seasoning mix, peas, carrots and mayonnaise, is a well loved dish for any potluck, church supper or other gathering.
Known as a Suddenly Salad copycat, this pasta salad made with small shell pasta, ranch seasoning mix, peas, carrots and mayonnaise, is a well loved dish for any potluck, church supper or other gathering.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

This recipe for Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is pretty much the same one floating around the internet everywhere for what they call a Suddenly Salad copycat, with a few of my own twists of course!

I honestly used to love that boxed stuff when I was younger - so quick, easy and good - but it's been so long since I actually had pasta salad out of the box {not that there's a thing wrong with that}, that I can't even tell you if this tastes anywhere near the original. It is definitely another good one to add to the repertoire of pasta salads here, even if it's not so photogenic.

I usually use medium shell pasta, but rotini, macaroni, or other small pastas work well too. If you have access to the Le Sueur peas, use those if you prefer, but they are very tender so don't add them until the end after you've given everything else a real good mix, otherwise they'll mash up. You can certainly substitute other peas, including frozen.


As with most pasta salads, there are lots of add-ins you can use - celery, black olives, red onion, green or red bell pepper, a seeded and chopped tomato, just to name a few, and of course, all kinds of shredded cheeses - there really are endless possibilities. If you do want to add in tomato, clean, seed and chop it and add it right before serving. If you add it in the beginning, it will make your pasta salad watery.

Be sure to allow the flavors to meld together a bit in the fridge for several hours, or even better, overnight, before serving, because the flavor improves over time.

Here's how to make it!


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Recipe: Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Inactive time: 8 hours | Yield: About 4 cups

Ingredients
  • 4-6 slices bacon
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 2 cups uncooked medium shell pasta
  • 2/3 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 packet (about 3 tablespoons) dry ranch dressing mix
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk
  • 1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen or canned (such as Le Sueur), thawed and/or well drained
Instructions

Cook the bacon until crisp; remove to drain on a paper towel, chop and set aside. Put grated carrot into a microwave safe bowl, lightly sprinkle with water, cover and cook on high for 2 minutes; set aside to cool. May also saute in a skillet, or boil in a saucepan if you don't have a microwave. Let cool, and wrap the cooked carrots in several layers of paper towels and squeeze out any residual liquid. Set aside.

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. Transfer to storage container. Toss with mayonnaise while pasta is still warm, until well blended. Add the chopped bacon, the cooked and cooled carrots, onion powder and ranch dressing mix; stir. Add a splash of buttermilk or milk, and stir in until creamy adding additional milk as needed for desired consistency. Gently fold in the peas, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Allow to rest at room temperature before serving and refresh with a spoon of pickle juice and/or additional mayonnaise if needed.

Cook's Notes: Makes about 4 cups; increase as needed. Canned Le Sueur peas are perfect for this, but very tender, so add them after you've mixed everything else well, then gently toss to avoid mashing them. As with most pasta salads, there are lots of add-ins you can use - celery, black olives, red onion, green or red bell pepper, a seeded and chopped tomato, just to name a few, and of course, all kinds of shredded cheeses - there really are endless possibilities. If you do want to add in tomato, clean, seed and chop it and add it right before serving to avoid making the pasta watery.

Source: http://www.deepsouthdish.com 

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Posted by on May 22, 2010
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