Everyone needs a “go to” pasta salad recipe and this is mine: an Italian Pasta Salad with a Homemade Italian Dressing, loaded with all things Italian: salami, olives, bocconcini, tomatoes and basil.
An essential for hot summer nights, quick mid week meals, make ahead lunches and gatherings!
Italian Pasta Salad recipe
I was inspired to make this because I went on a Salami Bender* after the Salami Cream Cheese Roll I shared a couple of weeks ago.
I could never be a food magazine editor or similar. Because a proper editor would ensure that a variety of recipes and ingredients are used. Whereas I find or am reminded of something that I love that I haven’t used “enough” of lately and I go on a Bender*.
And my dear readers get sent two salami recipes within a fortnight, the first and only two in the history of RecipeTin Eats!
* Is it just Aussies that use the term “bender” to describe a wild drinking spree??? Appropriate to apply to the current salami spree I’m on!
What goes in Italian Pasta Salad
Despite my excessive salami talk, Italian Pasta Salad does have things in it other than salami!
- Bocconcini (I used baby ones) which are just small balls of fresh mozzarella (they’re available at all supermarkets in Australia)
- cherry tomatoes
- olives (I use Sicilian because it’s on-theme and pitted black ones too)
- basil; and
- pasta (duh!)
Pasta Salad Dressing
This Italian dressing is one of my all time favourite Pasta Salad Dressings. Dried herbs, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, a touch of sugar, pinch of red pepper and the secret ingredient – parmesan cheese.
The parmesan just dissolves into the dressing and adds that extra flavour edge that makes anything you pour it over totally irresistible!
TIP: Make a standby Italian Dressing recipe that you can keep on hand just by using garlic powder rather than fresh garlic!
This is a cold pasta salad
This is a cold pasta salad recipe to be served at room temperature or slightly chilled which makes it ideal to make ahead for midweek meals, taking to gatherings, work lunches and buffet spreads.
All that colour.
All that goodness. No one can resist it! – Nagi x
MORE SUMMER SALADS to take to gatherings
- Potato Salad and Lemon Potato Salad
- Pearl Couscous Salad <– personal fave!
- Macaroni Pasta Salad
- Wild Rice Salad <– reader fave!
- 12 Minute Sun Dried Tomato Couscous Salad
- Browse all Pasta Salads and Rice Salad
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Italian Pasta Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing recipe video! (I realised it’s not a hard recipe, but it just looks oh-so-good) (PS The dressing clip is from my long shelf life Italian Dressing recipe so it doesn’t have fresh garlic in it, but that’s the only difference).
Italian Pasta Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar (I like using red)
- 1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp sugar (any)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) (optional)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 300g/10oz spiral pasta, or other pasta of choice
- 180g/6oz thick sliced salami, cut into 2.5cm/1" batons (see photo in post or videos) (I use spicy salami)
- 200g/7oz baby bocconcini, halved (Note 2)
- 1 red capsicum/bell pepper, cut into 3cm/2.2cm strips
- 250g/8oz whole olives (I used Sicilian and pitted black) (Note 3)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (~1.5 Australian punnets)
- 1 cup (tightly packed) fresh basil leaves
- Place Dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
- Cook pasta according to packet directions minus 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop it cooking further. Shake excess water off well then transfer into large bowl.
- Place remaining Pasta Salad ingredients in the bowl. Drizzle over Dressing and toss. Serve at room temperature.
- If the parmesan is not freshly grated, it will not dissolve in the dressing. So if you are using store bought pre grated parmesan, that's totally fine but sprinkle it on the salad instead of putting it in the dressing.
- I used baby bocconcini (which is small balls of fresh mozzarella sold at all supermarkets here in Australia) but you can use any sized bocconcini you want. Just chop it into small pieces.
- You can use sliced olives if you prefer. I typically opt for whole olives because they are so much juicier! Sicilian olives are green and perfect for an Italian Pasta Salad. They are kind of buttery and smoother than other types of olives.
- Leftovers: I swear this is even better the next day!
- Italian Pasta Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing nutrition per serving.
LIFE OF DOZER
The time I shaved him… also the time I made him run around with a bandana on…
This was a few years ago, I thought he looked dashing (and practical) but everyone mocked him!?