In Italian, the word Antipasto means “before the meal”. Traditional antipasto includes things such as cured meats (think salami, or pepperoni,) olives, cheeses, and peppers (not only bell peppers, but pepperocini.)
Being an avid pasta fan, I’ve always loved pasta salads with antipasto-type ingredients. This past weekend, we got together with a few friends for some mid-Fall grilling. We’ve had beautiful weather lately, in the 70s and 80s. The “norm” for these friendly grillouts is generally that the host provides the meat, and everyone else brings side dishes. I decided to do something different this weekend and put together an easy pasta salad; this one totally hit the spot.
Feel free to swap ingredients in or out with things not listed below, such as different cheese varieties, artichoke hearts, mushrooms or broccoli. The flavor of this pasta salad can also be played with depending on the type of dressing that you choose; the original recipe calls for a balsamic-olive oil blend, but I saved time by using a bottled italian dressing. Whatever you love will be good enough.
Antipasto Pasta Salad – adapted from Antipasto Pasta Salad on Allrecipes.com
1 lb tri-color spiral noodles
1/2 lb salami, chopped
1/2 lb sharp white cheddar, cubed
6 oz can black olives, drained
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 small carton cherry tomatoes
0.7 oz pkg dry italian style dressing
approx. 1 C italian dressing or balsamic-olive oil blend
1. Cook pasta noodles. Drain and cool in fridge.
2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except the bottled dressing. Let sit several hours or overnight in the fridge.
3. Toss salad in dressing immediately before serving.