Who doesn’t love a nice chopped salad?
Lettuces (Green Leaf and Romaine in this case), assorted veggies – I went with radishes and Blanched Asparagus and shredded cabbage and carrots and celery – and then, of course, meat(s) and cheese – in this case crumbled Nashville Hot Bacon from my butcher and aged Provolone. And… if you’ve been really good – Pasta!
But, how to keep the pasta from being a bland addition to your salad?
With this wicked simple hack – which works for any pasta salad you may have planned!
First, cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions, then drain and – key for pasta salad – rinse well.
Second, it makes no matter what type of dressing you are planning for your pasta salad – in this case I used Italian – the key is to double the amount of dressing called for in your recipe; pour half of that over the cooked, drained, and rinsed pasta in a bowl, then cover and stash in the fridge over night.
Consider this small-ish bowl of Ditalini pasta I planned on using for my salad.
I poured enough dressing over the pasta to cover, then gave it a bit of a stir, covered the bowl, and into the fridge with it.
The next day, just before I was ready to put together my chopped salad, I pulled the pasta out of the fridge to give it another toss and…
will you look at that?
That pasta, which had been covered in dressing the day before, has now soaked up all of that excess liquid – and flavor! – and is ready to become a worthy addition to any salad, or, for that matter, stand on its own as a fine base for pasta salad.
To make the salad – I chop and generally prep all of the ingredients well ahead of time, then assemble in a large bowl just before I plan to serve it.
This was a salad for four, so I cooked 3/4 cup of pasta, then drained, rinsed, dressed, and set aside to soak up all that excess dressing goodness.
Lettuces, veggies, meats, cheeses, all the rest are up to your personal preferences – I wouldn’t say “no” to some crumbled Feta, sliced peperoncini, and Kalamata olives.
Why order out when you can make a pretty terrific chopped salad at home?
And that pasta!