This summer I've been craving cold pasta salads. And I've made a lot of different kinds. Making small changes here & there. I've made so many veggie pasta salads because I was trying to use a lot of those vegetables that were coming from our garden and what we were getting from friends. But after a while, nothing was really floating my boat, so to speak. I still wanted my pasta salad - but I needed something to get my tastebuds moving again. And then I saw this recipe over at Basilmomma. It looked incredibly easy to make (which I liked!) but it was a little something different. Something to change up the usual cold pasta salad routine. And I couldn't believe I never thought of it before. It was incredibly tasty and there are a lot of possibilities with this one. You could certainly add more of your favorite veggies to it like green peppers and mushrooms. If you get your hands on some fresh mozzarella or if you like to make mozzarella yourself, I think it would taste amazing in this. Let me show you how quickly this whips up!
1 lb. box of penne pasta
1 (8 oz.) package whole pepperoni
1 (8 oz.) package mozzarella cheese
1 (16 oz.) bottle of your favorite Italian dressing
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
You can usually find these sticks of pepperoni near the bags of sliced pepperoni. If not, you can get a 1/2 lb. block of pepperoni from the deli counter at your grocery store.
In a large stock pot of boiling water, cook your pasta until al dente (following the directions on the back or side of the box.) When finished cooking, drain and rinse pasta with cool water. Let it drain well, then add to a large lidded bowl.
Chop up all your mozzarella and pepperoni into 1-inch cubes. And slice the grape tomatoes in half (I usually cut them lengthwise.)
Add those to your cooled pasta
Pour your bottle of Italian dressing on top. You don't have to use the whole bottle. This all comes down to taste. Give it all a good stir.
Next, if you are using, add your shredded Parmesan Cheese and give it another good stir.
Cover with plastic wrap or a fitted lid.
Then pop it in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours.
Cook's Notes: If you want to "up" the Italian flavor, you can always add additional Italian
spices to this. Heather from Basilmomma suggested: 1 tsp. each of Oregano, Basil, Red
Pepper flakes, Fennel Seed, Garlic Powder and Salt & Pepper (to taste).