We have enjoyed serving this recipe when we have had wine tastings at our home and it has always been a "hit"!
No special culinary equipment is needed to prepare this salad and its dressing.
For the Italian Salad Dressing:
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
¼ cup of Red Wine Vinegar
½ teaspoon of Salt
¼ teaspoon of Black Pepper, freshly ground
½ teaspoon of dried Italian Herbs
Dash of Red Pepper (for example, Cayenne Pepper)
¼ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Pasta Salad:
6 ounces / half of a 12-ounce box of Tri-Color Rotini Pasta
4 ounces / half of an 8-ounce bag of Tortellini Tricolor, Four-Cheese Pasta
1/3 cup of Salami, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1/3 cup of Pepperoni, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1/3 cup of Red Onion, finely chopped
¼ cup of Peperoncini (a Greek or Italian peppers in vinegar – we prefer medium heat/spicey), chopped
¼ cup Giardiniera (an Italian mix of vegetables in vinegar), chopped
½ cup of Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half or quarters depending on their size
1/3 cup of Castelvetrano Olives, pitted and sliced
¼ cup of Kalamata Olives, pitted and sliced
¼ cup of Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup of Basil Leaves, chopped
1-½ tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
To Prepare the Italian Salad Dressing:
in a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients except the oil until fully integrated. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Pour the salad dressing into a salad dressing serving container and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Mix as much of the dressing as you would like into the pasta salad and gently combine. Let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Gently stir it prior to serving.
Note that this salad dressing is great with many different green salads and is a quick and easy, fresh salad dressing.
To Prepare the Pasta Salad:
In a large pot of boiling-salted water, pour in the tri-color tortellini, and cook the tortellini per the instructions on the bag/box (length of time to cook will vary by brand, so it is important to follow the directions on the container). Be careful not to overcook. You want the pasta al dente. Once the tortellini is cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove all of the tortellini and place them in a colander. Rinse with cold water. Gently work to drain all of the water off of the tortellini, and then place on a cookie sheet with ¾ of a tablespoon of the olive oil. With your hands gently coat the pasta with the olive oil and spread out on the cookie sheet. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
Bring the pot of salted water back to a boil and pour in the tri-color rotini. Cook the rotini per the instructions on the box/container. Be careful not to overcook. You want the rotini al dente. Once cooked, strain the rotini into a colander, and rinse with cold water. Let the water drain, and then mix the rotini on the same cookie sheet with the remaining olive oil using your hands to integrate the olive oil so the pasta does not stick to each other. Place the cookie sheet back into the refrigerator for about an hour. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the pasta salad (except the pasta), and stir with a spoon to mix all of the ingredients, and place the bowl in the refrigerator. Once the pasta has cooled (about an hour later on the cookie sheet), remove the pasta from the refrigerator and mix the pasta into the other ingredients and use a spoon to gently mix all of the ingredients. Add as much of the Italian salad dressing as you prefer to your taste, and gently mix with a spoon. Place in the refrigerator for about a half hour and then gently mix one more time with a spoon and serve.
This is a colorful and delicious pasta salad to serve with grilled fish or pork. We have also served this recipe when we have had wine tastings at our home and people really seem to enjoy the flavors.