Melissa's Pasta Salad
This pasta salad is one of my favorite recipes to make for a crowd! It’s always a hit, and it's perfect for Superbowl parties, picnics, and more. It's a lot of work, but trust me - it’s totally worth it!
12-16oz Rotini (multi-colored) pasta
6 slices hard salami, diced
12 Pepperoni slices, sliced in half
4oz Mozzarella cheese, cubed
4oz Monterey jack or Swiss, cubed
2 small cans sliced black olives, drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 container cherry tomatoes cut in 1/2
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 TBL. balsamic vinegar
2 TBL. dried oregano
2 TBL. Zesty Italian Dressing
1 TBL. Dried Parsley
2 TBL. Grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper to taste
**The key to this salad is to make it the night before! It's much better to let the flavors incorporate together.**
DIRECTIONS: Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, and cool under cold water. Chop all of your vegetables, cheeses, and meats while the pasta cooks and cools (trust me, it's a lot of chopping... but power through!). Tip: you can do all the chopping in advance to save some time!
In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, salami, pepperoni, cheese, black olives, onion, red bell pepper, bell peppers and tomatoes. Stir in the envelope of dry dressing mix. Cover, and refrigerate at least a good portion of the day - or overnight.
To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian dressing, oregano, parsley, 1 Tbl. of the Parmesan cheese, and pepper. Pour 1/2 of this mixture over the salad the night before. Just before serving, pour the remaining dressing over the salad, toss with the rest of Parmesan cheese. You may not end up using all of the dressing.
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