Antipasto Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a perfect addition to any party menu, summer lunch or a picnic in the park, not to mention packing it up to take to work or school. This is a variation of a pasta salad that makes my taste buds sing. I have made many pasta salads through the years and have taken my favorite aspects from all of them to create a salad where every bite is so satisfying.  

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:

8 oz pasta

1 – 2 tomatoes, cut into chunks, or 1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes, halved

8 oz mushrooms

Olive oil; 1 1/2 Tablespoons for the mushrooms and 2 Tablespoons for the vinagrette

Red wine vinegar; 2 teaspoons each, for the mushrooms and the vinagrette

1/3-1/2 cup salami, julienned

1 broccoli crown, cut into florets

1/4-1/8 cup banana peppers, sliced, plus 1 1/2 tsp brine for the mushrooms

1/4 cup provolone or mozarella cheese, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced

Cook pasta according to package instructions, cool and set aside.  IMG_3105 Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water and place in a nonstick skillet. Bring to a boil, add broccoli, season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to med low and cook until broccoli is crisp tender and still a vibrant green, about 5 minutes.  IMG_3102 Meanwhile, quarter or halve the mushrooms, depending on the size.

Whisk together 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp banana pepper brine and pour into skillet.

Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown. The liquid will all evaporate and soak into the mushrooms, infusing them with SO much flavor.  The mushrooms will turn golden brown. I got the idea for this from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s simply brilliant, marinating the mushrooms so that they’re full of flavor and browning them for beautiful color and intensity of more flavor at the same time.  IMG_3097 Whisk 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar and add 2 crushed garlic cloves. Allow to stand for 15-30 min. Discard the garlic.

Steeping the garlic in the vinaigrette gives it some garlic flavor but you won’t be punched in the face with garlic as you eat your salad.

IMG_3111 Toss the pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, salami, tomatoes, cheese, peppers and basil with the vinaigrette.  IMG_3126
IMG_3135 By the way, this is what banana peppers look like. They are usually sold in the aisle next to the pickles. You can buy them either whole or sliced.  MTOL_MildBananaPepperRings_12oz Season with salt and pepper. You can eat it right away, but it only gets better the longer it stands, since all the flavors meld together.

IMG_3195

 

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Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz pasta
  • 1 - 2 tomatoes, cut into chunks, or 1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • Olive oil; 1½ Tablespoons for the mushrooms and 2 Tablespoons for the vinaigrette
  • Red wine vinegar; 2 teaspoons each, for the mushrooms and the vinaigrette
  • ⅓-1/2 cup salami, julienned
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
  • ¼-1/8 cup banana peppers, sliced, plus 1½ tsp brine for the mushrooms
  • ¼ cup provolone or mozzarella cheese, chopped into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, cool and set aside.
  2. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water and place in a nonstick skillet.
  3. Bring to a boil, add broccoli, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover, reduce heat to med low and cook until broccoli is crisp tender and still a vibrant green, about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, quarter or halve the mushrooms, depending on the size.
  6. Whisk together 1½ Tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1½ tsp banana pepper brine and pour into skillet.
  7. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown.
  8. Whisk together 2 Tablespoons of olive oil,2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar and 2 crushed garlic cloves.
  9. Allow to stand for 15-30 min. Discard the garlic.
  10. Toss the pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, salami, tomatoes, cheese, peppers and basil with the vinaigrette.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.

 
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Comments

    • Olga K. says

      It’s a type of pepper that is sold in jars, usually next to the pickles. There are other types of peppers, pepperoncini peppers, etc. I personally like banana peppers best.

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