Tis the season for pasta salads! As those veggies start popping up in your garden, you will want to make this recipe often. It is light and refreshing and it gets better the longer it hangs out in the fridge! There are lots of variations to this particular recipe. I first heard about it from my friend Patricia (remember her, from the Huli-Huli Chicken recipe?) Anyhow, she has a recipe similar to this that her Mom used to make. I'm sure it's one of those recipes that lots of folks remember being at every barbecue in the 70's and 80's. Pasta salads were hitting their stride in those years!
Basically it is made up of cooked spaghetti, Italian dressing, some seasonings, cheese and a whole lotta veggies. You can use whatever veggies you enjoy. There are lots of ways to change this up. I am not using as much of the McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning as some of the original recipes call for but you can certainly add more of it to suit your taste. It tastes like summer! And hey, it looks daggone pretty too, don't it?Ingredients:
1 (1 lb.) box spaghetti noodles
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 English cucumber, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 (2.25 oz.) can sliced olives, drained
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning (optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 (16 oz.) bottle Wish-Bone Italian dressing
Ingredient Notes: For most pasta salads that require Italian dressing, I go with an old classic: Wish-Bone Robusto Italian. Use your favorite dressing or make your own Italian dressing. You'll need 2 cups. Also, I like to use English cucumbers because the skin is so tender that you can eat it. It just makes prep work easier and it tastes good. Other veggies you can use are zucchini and squash. Any type of cheese that you love will work in this. I'm using Kerrygold Dubliner cheese here which is a slightly firmer cheese. Feta cheese is one of my favorites to use as well. The McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning can be found with the other seasonings in your grocery store.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. I am using the 'Pot Perfect' spaghetti noodles. They are half-size pieces of spaghetti that fit perfectly into your pot. It's perfect for this because it helps with the noodles being a bit easier to manage while eating. I also season the boiling water with one tablespoon of kosher salt before putting the noodles in. Stir noodles often while cooking.
While you're waiting for your spaghetti to cook, start dicing your veggies.I shared this tip a couple of weeks ago but it's so useful, I'm sharing again. When you are using uncooked onions in a dish, soak them in ice water for a few minutes to help reduce some of that overpowering flavor.
Drain your pasta noodles and rinse gently with cool water.
In a large bowl - and I do mean LARGE bowl - add in all your diced veggies, olives and cheeses.
Then add the cooked and cooled spaghetti on top. It was at this moment that I realized I had grabbed the wrong glass bowl and this one was too small (sigh - my largest one was dirty so it was off to find a bigger bowl somewhere in my house!)With a bigger bowl found, I topped it all with the Mccormick Salad Supreme seasoning as well as the garlic powder.
Give it all a gentle toss. Pour Italian dressing over noodles.
Stir mixture careful until combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool for at least two hours before serving. It gets even better as it cools!