How gorgeous is this?
I first encountered this delicious dish at a baby shower when we were living in Enid, Oklahoma, and my friend, Lauren, was gracious enough to share the recipe. Since then, it has become my go-to recipe for baby showers, bridal showers, pot-lucks, picnics - you name it. It is beautiful, colorful, and absolutely delicious. It can easily be divided to feed your family, or it can be multiplied to feed a crowd. It can (and should) be made ahead, so it's perfect for parties, and the leftovers keep well for several days.
First, get a big pot of water boiling, salt the water, and cook your pasta as directed until al dente - "to the tooth," meaning you don't want to let it get anywhere close to mushy. I've made this salad with linguini, which is lovely, but a little tricky to wrangle onto the fork. Rotini is standard pasta salad fare, but I like to choose something a little less predictable. Bowties (farfalle) work well, but my new favorite is campanelle, which I used today.
Meanwhile, wash and start chopping your veggies. I love to have a wide variety of colors, flavors, and textures in this salad, and so I use about a pint of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters (depending on the size of the tomatoes); one cucumber, only partly peeled to leave some traces of green, sliced thin, and then cut into quarters; about half of a red onion, cut in half and sliced thin; and one bell pepper, yellow or orange to add more color (this time I used one of each because I doubled the recipe), diced.
Drop the veggies in a large bowl, and add half a bottle of Italian dressing. Then add half a bottle of McCormick Salad Supreme and stir. I also like to add a little freshly-ground black pepper.
Once your pasta has cooked, drain well, and add to the veggie mixture. Do not worry about cooling the pasta - a little heat won't hurt anything, and I think it may actually help to meld the flavors.
Cover and refrigerate overnight - or if you're serving this at dinnertime, you can get away with making it in the morning and refrigerating it all day. (If you're short on fridge space, you might transfer to a gallon-size zip-lock baggie or two.)
Just before serving, stir in the remaining half bottle of Italian dressing.
Fabulous Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. pasta (Try campanelle, linguini, farfalle, or rotini.)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 bottle of Italian salad dressing (Save half the bottle for just before serving.)
- 1/2 bottle McCormick Salad Supreme
- black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta as directed on packaging.
- Mix vegetables with half bottle of Italian dressing, McCormick Salad Supreme, and black pepper.
- Toss veggie mixture with cooked pasta.
- Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, stir in remaining half bottle of Italian Dressing.