Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Note:  If this recipe inspired you to use as a guide to make your own, please be considerate and credit annascuisine.wordpress.com.  Thank you!

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.

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Here’s what you’ll need to make this refreshing salad.

DSC_0232Ingredients:

  • 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.)

Directions:

  • 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).

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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.

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Mix again to make sure the dressing is well incorporated before serving.  Serve in a large salad bowl.

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or individual size salad plate.  Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.DSC_0261

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