Recipe: Chef Dad's Italian Pasta Salad

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

It's a taste of Italy that you can have right in your own kitchen. We take a look at what goes into Chef Dad's Italian Pasta Salad.

Chef Dad's Italian Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS;

  • 1 lb. pkg. Pasta (tubetti, penne, bow tie, macaroni or your favorite tubular pasta)
  • 10 oz. Grape Tomatoes (sliced in half or thirds, depending on how big they are)
  • 1 Cup Black Olives (pitted, drained & sliced)
  • 1 Cup Spanish Olives (small to medium sized, drained & sliced)
  • 8 oz. Salami (your favorite, cubed)
  • 8 oz. Pepperoni (cubed)
  • 8 oz. Provolone Cheese (cubed)
  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese (grated) 
  • 1 Cup Italian Dressing (Paul Newnan's or your favorite brand, shaken well)
  • ½ Cup Mayonnaise
  • Salt, Pepper

COOKING;
1)  First, prep your meat, veggies & cheeses then set aside.
2)  In a small bowl, whisk together your mayo & Italian dressing then set aside.
3)  Before boiling our pasta, we need to make an "ice bath".  This will be used to "shock" the pasta when it comes out of the boiling water.  We do this because we want the pasta to stop cooking and cool down as well.  Get a large bowl filled 1/3 of the way with ice.  Now add water till it comes about ½ full.
4)  Get a large pot of salted water over high heat up to a boil for your pasta.  Put it in and cook the pasta per its package instructions.  When it's done, drain well.  Keep the pasta in your strainer then dunk it in your ice bath for a few minutes to cool.  Pull the strainer out of the ice bath to drain again.  Set the pasta in the strainer on your counter then blot it with a paper towel to remove the excess water from the noodles.  Now put the noodles in a large bowl so we can mix the remaining ingredients together.
5)  Combine the ingredients by first adding the pasta, tomatoes, olives, both meats & cheeses.  Toss to combine then add your mayo/dressing mixture and mix well.  Taste the mixture then add the desired amount of salt & pepper. I usually start out with about ½ tsp. of salt and ¼ tsp. of pepper, but you may not want any at all.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.  

This recipe serves at least 12-16 people as a side dish.

Cook's option from Chef Dad:

"I let my grocers' deli do most of the work by ordering the salami & provolone sliced ¼" thick. That way, when I get home, all I have to do is cross cut those slices to make my small cubes.  If your salami slices have a thick outer skin on them, remove it before cubing the meat.  Other optional ingredients which we like are pepperoni or freshly diced bell peppers.  Finally, you can leave out the mayo if you want, just add another ¼ cup of Italian dressing to the mix. But, if you leave the salad in the fridge for an extended period of time, you may need to add a bit more dressing to it since the pasta will absorb the dressing after 12-24 hours."

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