(Adapted from the Simply Italian Recipe Book)
Timing is Everything
This salad is definitely better prepared ahead of time.
The dressing needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least a day to
allow the flavors to blend. The pasta needs to be cooked the night before
so that is will be cold and firm, so make the whole thing the night
before. The flavors from the vegies and meat will flavor the pasta. Mix the pasta salad but don't apply any dressing until serving.
Selecting Your Ingredients
Get the largest rotini or rotelle you can find. Here, bigger is better. I use rotini or rotelle because the twists hold more dressing. Barilla makes some interesting pasta shapes, as do many other companies. I've tried Barilla Castellane with good results. Experiment.
If you don't have a pepper grinder, get one. They're cheap, and this also makes a big difference.
Get the meat and cheese at the deli, and ask them to slice it ½ thick. The pepperoni or salami makes a nice addition but is not necessary.
Be sure to get good, extra virgin olive oil. This makes a huge difference. Organic extra virgin is better. Olive oils vary greatly in taste so try them until you find one you like.
I always use Progresso Red Wine Vinegar - just
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar and seasonings.
6 cups (16 oz.) Rotini or Rotelle,
ServingMakes about 12 servings.
Apply dressing to each serving as served. Shake very well for each serving, then pour it fast as this dressing separates quickly.