So yeah...I kind of vanished from the food blogging radar once again. I'll spare you the details of a nasty fall that I had at the end of May. It left me pretty banged up and bruised from my knees down. And by bruised, I mean a severe bone contusion in my right knee that left me immobile for a couple weeks until I had to push through the pain and gimp around The University of Missouri on crutches for Jack's freshman orientation. Less than two weeks later, I was hobbling around the streets of Nashville to visit Vanderbilt University for Emma. Since then, I've been home, resting and recovering as much as I can before I have to leave for another road trip tomorrow. Mabelle's U13 soccer team won their Midwest Regional soccer tournament and we are off to Indianapolis to watch them compete for The National Cup⚽️🏆. Woohoo! So as you can read, it has been a painful, but proud two months of not blogging. Ok, that was a couple of details😉.
On to the food...pasta salad. It's the quintessential summer bowl of goodness that can be made in advance to feed a large crowd all at once or to feed a busy family in shifts because everyone is constantly coming and going. I swear one these days I am going to have revolving doors installed in the front and back of the house! Like most pasta salad recipes, the ingredients are flexible. For instance, the original recipe called for 8-ounces each of sopressata and hot capicola (actually they called for salami, but we prefer hot capicola), however I only use 4-ounces of each because I think that is enough cured meat flavor. I also dial back on the sharp provolone, but then toss in some fresh mozzarella pearls because my family loves that creamy texture. I even add quartered artichoke hearts and a little oregano to bulk up the finished product and flavor. But the one step in the recipe that is definitely a keeper and really makes it stand out is when the mushrooms are sautéed in part of the vinaigrette. They become tender and deeply marinated in those antipasto flavors. Having said that, "Make it for you, make it your own." Happy cooking!Printable Recipe
Antipasto Pasta Salad
4-ounces sliced Sopresatta, halved and cut into 1/4-inch strips
4-ounces sliced hot Capicola, halved and cut into 1/4-inch strips
10 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
6 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 (12-ounce) jar pepperoncini, drained, (2 Tablespoons juice reserved), stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch rings
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of fusilli or any curly shaped pasta
1 pound white button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
4-ounces sliced provolone cheese, cut into quarters and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
8-ounces fresh mozzarella pearls, drained
12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and sliced into bite-sized strips
1 (15-ounce) can small artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup, lightly packed fresh basil, torn to bite-sized pieces
In a medium bowl, whisk together 5 tablespoons of vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise, pepperoncini juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; set aside.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 Tablespoon of salt and the pasta, cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, return to pot, and toss with 1/2 cup dressing and remaining 5 Tablespoon of vinegar. Spread the dressed pasta onto a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring remaining dressing to a simmer in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms and dressing to a large bowl to cool.
Add the meats, cheeses, roasted peppers, artichokes, pepperoncini, basil, and cooled pasta to mushrooms and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. Salad can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Cook's Country, June/July 2007