Last week I attended my neice's birthday party and took along the pasta salad I threw together. It got rave reviews, as it usually seems to, and was even mentioned in the comments here on my blog. Personally, pasta salad isn't my favorite - too many vegetables and not enough fat I think, but after numerous requests I'm posting this simple recipe which I got from my Mom. I feel silly calling it a recipe even, since it's just a bunch of stuff thrown in with pasta - but people will love you if you take this salad to a potluck!
Start with pasta, one pound; I like to use tri-color spirals for color. Last time I found a pasta that was actually made with different vegetables, which contributed to the color and taste. Cook according to the package directions then drain, rinse, and add to serving bowl(s). One lb of pasta always makes so much more than I plan and when finished fills 2 Pampered Chef batter bowls, 8 cups each.
Add veggies! Use any you like that will taste good raw, or do a quick saute if you like. A type of onion is a must for me, either white, yellow, red, or green. If I use anything but green I will saute them to soften a bit. Other veggies on my list: button mushrooms (quartered, halved, or sliced), zucchini (chunked or sliced), tomatoes (large dice), black olives (sliced from the can). Don't know if olives are really a veggie.
Cheese - A must for my friends and family. I like crumbled feta but diced cheddar or Monterrey Jack are great too. Feta holds up the longest uner un-refrigerated conditions, like outdoor BBQs!
Seasonings - Add your favorite oil and vinegar based dressing. You need enough to keep everything wet and give it a good marinade and flavor. Basic Italian or a balsalmic work well. I also like to "kick it up a notch" with a few shakes of red pepper flakes. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese adds great flavor too.
Mix everything well, serve, and wait for the compliments to roll in!