For the dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta salad:
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
8 ounces dried short pasta, such as rotini
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 small English cucumber, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
4 ounces mini mozzarella balls, drained and halved (or feta)
4 ounces salami slices, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (optional)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Prep. Time → 60 min
1. Make the dressing. Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Soften the red onion in the dressing. Add the finely chopped red onion and stir to combine. Set aside to soften while you prepare the rest of the salad.
3. Cook the pasta. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente — soft with just a bit of chew — about 8 minutes or according to package directions. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
4. Quickly cool the pasta. Drain the pasta in a colander and run under cold water. Dunk the colander in the ice bath and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
5. Place the pasta salad ingredients in a bowl. Drain the pasta well. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella, salami, olives, and parsley.
Toss the pasta with the dressing. Add the dressing, including the onions, to the pasta and toss until evenly combined.
6. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld before serving.
7. Storage: This pasta salad keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Taste and season again before serving if needed.
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