Parfait! Macaroni Salad

MacSaladSideboardbfLOCreamy. Sweet – but with a bit of a bite. Forgiving, too, when you consider the fact that I neglected to follow my own notes and did not rinse the pasta (which I never do – EXCEPT when I’m making a cold pasta salad) – grrr. It’s all still good.

Practically Perfect in Every Way.

I found the base for this recipe on foodnetwork.com last summer and, following some tips from reviewers, made a few minor adjustments. It’s still a good, sort of quick side dish (if you don’t count the time the pasta spends soaking up half of the dressing – which you really shouldn’t, because you’d be wanting to chill your pasta salad before serving anyway) that you can more or less toss together from whatever you happen to have lying about the larder.

MacSaladFirstDressingbfLOI think the SECRET to this salad’s flexibility and REALLY good taste (I will happily have a bowl of just this for a meal) is the dressing – or – more specifically – the amount of dressing and the way it’s applied. See, this salad gets a double dose of the dressing – the first, stirred in just after cooking and rinsing and a bit of cooling, then covered and tossed in the fridge overnight (three or four hours will work).

MacSaladIngredientsbfLOThe pasta will actually SOAK UP this bit o’ mayonnaise goodness – adding a nice punch of flavor to the finished salad – cool, no? I know I was impressed. Let’s begin:

INGREDIENTS
Dressing:
•1 cup mayonnaise
•1-1/2 tsp dry mustard
•1 tbsp sugar
DressingRawPastabfLO•3 tbsp cider vinegar
•3/8 cup sour cream
•1/2 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp celery salt
•Freshly ground pepper

Salad:
•2 cups dried pasta (corkscrew is good, but elbows or cavatini are always options)
•Veggies – your choice, really – I used some red onion, shaved carrot, and English cucumber in this batch

MacSaladFirstDressingAltbfLOWhisk the dressing ingredients together, cover, and set aside – I stick mine into a pint mason jar – it makes it easier to pour out the first half by eye.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, well-salted water.

Drain and rinse.

Allow to cool off a bit, then toss the pasta in a bowl with half of the dressing, cover and stash in the fridge overnight – you can get MacSaladCrockeryBowlbfLOaway with doing this bit in the morning and completing and serving the salad at dinner that evening – but I don’t think you should try to rush it any more than that.

The next morning, the pasta will have soaked up most (if not all) of the dressing; now you can get on with the rest of the salad. Add whichever veggies you like along with the remaining half of the dressing and toss to combine. Cover and return to the fridge (I prefer a glass or crockery bowl – I think it transfers the cold better to the salad) until you’re ready to serve.

Done! And now there’ll need be no more little plastic tubs o’ who knows what from the market. Jus’ sayin’

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