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Old 05-29-2008, 10:47 AM   #11
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We made a good one the other night, using vegetable rotini, salami, green & black olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, Vidalia onion, mushrooms, canned tomatoes with juice, S&P and Italian dressing. Keep in mind that the pasta soaks up a LOT of dressing and seasoning, so use a lot.
If you want to use fresh tomatoes too, that's great, but the canned tomatoes with their juice really add a lot to the flavor of the finished salad.
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:30 AM   #12
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A useful bit of info is I find that not as much dressing is needed if I rinse my pasta with cold water. I rinse until it is no longer warm and then I let it dry as much as possible, stirring to release the water hidden in the holes.

Edited to say: I guess I should have said the reason I rinse is to keep the starch off and to prevent me from having to over dress the salad. Otherwise the dressing all soaks into the starch and you end up adding more, which equals more calories.
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by paterson00 View Post
I buy these from supermarkets for lunch while i am at work and im sure it would be cheaper to make them. How do you get the pasta to become like they make it.

I have been told that once you have cooked it, run in under a cold tap straight away and it will be ready for a cold salad and not stick together.
One of the problems I find with store-bought pasta salads is, there is way too much dressing. IMHO, the extra dressing (when packaged for sale), keeps the pasta from sticking together - and usually over-seasoned (to my taste). Sometimes I rinse under cold water, & sometimes I just let the pasta cool in the colander, while I'm prepping the other ingredients. When I add in the dressing, everything loosens up/doesn't stick together.

Here's an interesting read, and tips:

Drain but do not rinse the pasta. Instead, dump it onto a large-lipped cookie sheet to cool and dry. Don't worry if the pasta sticks together. The dressing will break it up.

Five Steps to Perfect Pasta Salad

ETA: When I make pasta salad I make it in large quantitiies, place in a dutch oven & refrigerate. When I remove it from the fridge, I let it come to room temp, with the lid on. That also helps to avoid the pasta sticking together. Maybe there is something to the non-rinse process (starch perhaps), that helps the dressing to cling. Just a thought.
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Old 05-29-2008, 07:19 PM   #14
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That's a pretty good guide, Amy. I'd say I probably use about the same proportion of dressing to pasta, maybe a little more if you include the juice from the canned tomatoes.
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Old 05-29-2008, 07:34 PM   #15
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There are many wonderful suggestions for you here..Get your pasta ready and then add some of your favorite things..I just made one for my grandsons birthday and it went so fast it surprised me..I just cooked some penne, in salted water, drained, let cool, I did add a little evoo to keep my pasta from sticking as it waited and cooled...I know it's frowned on by the experts, but it's my way...I then put it into a large bowl and added halved grape tomatoes, several hand fulls of fresh chopped flat leafed parsley, coarsley crumbled feta cheese, thinly sliced red oniona lot of it it's a favorite..salt and pepper and then tossed it with a Italian dressing, evoo,red wine vinegar, pinches of oregano,majoram and topped it with shredded fresh picked basil....This is just an idea for you..I also love penne, with diced salami,celery chunks,cucumbers,cheese chunks,grape tomatoes, red onion rings,olives,chopped red peppers,parsley, toss then dress with oil and vinegar..
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