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I was thinking about a pasta salad I created a long time ago when I used to cater. It was one of the best sellers and a hit at parties. I called it Mediterranean Pasta Salad. It was healthy and refreshing. Everyone wanted the recipe, but I only gave it to one of my friends. After a while, I’ve seen a similar dish sold by a large merchant in the area. However, my friend told me that she preferred my recipe because it was refreshing and well seasoned. The original Italian dressing I used before was not available, so I picked whatever they have on the shelf. It’s made with extra virgin olive oil. You can make a homemade dressing and add cucumbers or other raw vegetables of your choice if you prefer. If some people find the process of making this salad a bit complicated, I suggest you gather all the ingredients before making it to prevent overcooked ingredients.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this refreshing salad.
- 10 cups water, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 cups uncooked Penne Rigate pasta noodles
- 1/2 of roasted chicken breast, sliced in bite pieces or 1 dozen of medium shrimps
- 10 stalks of asparagus, cut slanted about an inch
- 1/4 of large onion, cut lengthwise
- 12 pieces fresh Mozarella Ciliegine (fresh mini Mozarella balls)
- 1 medium red bell peppers, cubed
- 1 medium orange bell peppers, cubed
- 1 medium yellow bell peppers, cubed
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 8 pieces pepperoncini
- Goya (or a brand of your choice) quartered and marinated artichoke hearts; drained (6 oz.)
- Pitted Kalamata olives
- shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 bottle of your favorite Italian dressing (9-14 oz.)
- Bring 6 cups of water in a pot to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
- Add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Drain completely and place in a large bowl.
- In a separate pot, bring two cups of water with juice of 1 lemon and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque about 2 minutes. Drain immediately and completely. Add in the bowl with pasta.
- In a separate pot, bring water and 1/4 salt to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Remove immediately and add in the bowl with the shrimp and pasta.
- Add the remaining ingredients (including the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt).
Toss to coat or use two ladles and mix until well combined. Cover with Saran wrap and place in the refrigerator. Marinate for at least two hours.
Mix again to make sure the dressing is well incorporated before serving. Serve in a large salad bowl.
or individual size salad plate. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.
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