I love summer cooking, it's easy, it's simple, it's light and the fresh produce is abundant. And I love good pasta salad, the ingredients are endless. You can put anything your heart desires in pasta salad and it's great to make on the weekend and keep for a few days in the fridge, for those times when it's just to darn hot to cook.
A couple of tips that I have found in my search, "don't" overcook the pasta. I even undercook it a bit, the dressing will make the pasta softer by the next day. Another thing, "don't" overload the dressing. "Less is better", where the dressing is concerned. I finally came up with this dish, it's really tasty and can either be a side dish, or a one dish meal.
My Summer Pasta Salad ~
3/4 lb of Barilla Cellatani (doubled elbows)
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 whole red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
2 ears of fresh steamed corn, shucked
6 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into 1/2 " pieces
1/4 lb. good kalamata (pitted), from the olive bar, halved
For the dressing:
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 jalapeno pepper, very finely mincd
Mix well and set aside.
Fill a large stock pot with water, bring to a boil and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Cook Cellatani for 9 minutes. If you are using another kind of pasta, just undercook it by 1 minute. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a very large bowl, add red peppers, onion, celery, corn, bacon and black olives. Pour in pasta and add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Mix to combine.
Add dressing and mix together well. Allow pasta salad to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
To serve, mix well and adjust the seasonings. Also, if pasta appears dry, add a tablespoon of milk or cream. Do not add any extra mayonnaise or sour cream.
I like to serve it just the way it is, over red leaf lettuce. Simple, yet delicious.