Seems like lots of people are asking for menu suggestions for pool parties and BBQs for the upcoming holiday weekend. If anyone is looking for a really simple, but tasty pasta salad, I had this pasta salad at a friend’s pool party last Sunday and it was honestly the best pasta salad I’ve ever had. I'm not generally a fan of pasta salad, but I couldn't stop eating the stuff.
My friend made her salad with full fat mayo, rice wine vinegar, lemon zest and Safeway O Organic whole wheat corkscrew pasta.
Cook 1 package of pasta until just tender. Drain but do not rinse the pasta. Instead, dump it onto a large-lipped cookie sheet to cool and dry. Don't worry if the pasta sticks together. The dressing will break it up.
Add broccoli, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and half a small diced red onion. (She didn't provide quantities for the other vegetables.)
Add 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, 3 TBS minced fresh parsley and 2 tsps of orange or lemon zest.
For dressing, combine the following:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup olive oil
Measure vinegar (or lemon juice) and mustard (or mayonnaise) into a 2-cup measuring cup. With a small whisk, stir in garlic, a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Measure oil in another cup. Slowly whisk oil into mixture, first in droplets, then in a slow, steady stream to make an emulsified vinaigrette. Makes about 1 cup of dressing.
You can prepare the ingredients in advance, but toss the salad and dressing only 15 minutes before serving. My friends said the leftover salad keeps well in the fridge and can be eaten cold or at room temperature.