Nothing quite like waiting until the last minute, huh? It happens to the best of us. And now here you are just a few days before the 4th of July and you don’t know what you’re bringing to the potluck, do you? Well you’re in luck! Because I’ve got a super simple, super fast pasta salad recipe that will impress and make you look like a mini Martha Stewart. I mean really what’s more American than carbs?
Cooking the Pasta
Grab a box of your pasta of choice and cook per the instructions on the box. I went with rigatoni, because it allows the various ingredients to hide inside the pasta. This keeps the color scheme more intentional, purple chunks of onions kind of take away from the Americana of it all. Rotini is the more traditional choice for pasta salad. Bow-ties are always cute too!
After your pasta is al-dente separate it into three bags. In the first bag add thirty-five drops of red food coloring, in the second add forty drops of blue food coloring, the third bag will remain plain. close the bags and shake them around a little bit, then allow the pasta to soak up the color for 30 minutes or until it reaches a shade you’re happy with. If the color isn’t quite dark enough for you, add a few more drops of dye. Remember the exact shade you get will depend upon the original pasta color itself, try and find the palest pasta you can.
The Good Stuff
While the pasta is cooling, you can start to chop up the veggies and assorted deliciousness for the rest of the salad. For this recipe I tried to use ingredients that either add to or don’t take away from the red, white, and blue. Black olives, white onion and artichoke hearts, red pepperoni, red bell pepper, red tomatoes – you get the jest. You can add anything you want, but I recommend sticking with red white and black ingredients. Dice each of these items into small pieces, remember we’re trying to encourage them to hide inside the rigatoni.
Since this recipe is all about keeping it simple, I used some Italian dressing that I had on hand. I know, I know, it’s not the most exciting dressing to use. If you want to get a bit more creative, you could make your own dressing from 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Either way, keep it kind of simple since there is already some great flavors going on.
Putting it All Together
Ingredients assemble! Now that everything is cooked, chopped, and ready to go we can put it all together. Mix the pasta and toppings in a large serving bowl and place in the fridge for at least thirty minutes. Add the dressing when you are ready to serve.
- 1 Box of pasta (Rotini or Rigatoni)
- Red food coloring
- Blue food coloring
- 1/4 white onion,
- 1/4 cup chopped pepperoni
- 1/8 cup chopped olives
- 1/8 cup chopped artichoke hearts
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- Cook pasta according to package directions
- Separate pasta into 3 bags
- Add 35 drops of red food coloring to one bag
- Add 40 drops of blue food coloring to a second bag
- Allow pasta to rest for 30 minutes
- Combine all ingredients except the Italian dressing
- Chill for at least 2 hours
- Drizzle dressing and mix to combine just before serving
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