Friday, July 31, 2009

Antipasto Pasta Salad

I made this dish the other night for my book club. It was a big hit. I made it an advance and served it cold, but you could serve it right after it is prepared. If you decide to serve it cold, the best way is to cook the pasta first and allow to cool in the fridge. Once cold, finish the rest of the preparations.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
the juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Antipasto Salad:
1 pound fusilli pasta (or any short, spiral shaped pasta)
1/2 cup hard salami, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup smoked turkey, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup provolone cheese, cut into strips
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese (Parmesan or Romano works as well)
1/4 cup green olives, halved and pitted
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette: In a blender or food processor, add the basil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Serve.

This vinaigrette is great; you could use it on a variety of salads.

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