I have made this pasta salad many times and have learned just one thing: Please don’t overcook the pasta! You may have experienced pasta that has been in boiling water for too long. It loses its shape, turns to mush and takes on an unappetizing texture. For best pasta results:
- Salt the water. I have heard it described as “salty as the ocean”. Sufficiently salted water makes for good pasta.
- Bring the pot of salted water to a full boil, then add the pasta slowly so boiling does not stop. This part is important.
- Reduce heat slightly but keep up the boil. Stir every couple of minutes to prevent sticking.
- Test the pasta for doneness just before the cooking time according to the package directions. Be ready to pour the hot pasta and water into a colander (do this in the sink) when it has reached desired tenderness. Don’t leave the “done” pasta sitting in hot water.
- Rinse the pasta with cool water to stop the cooking. As it cools in the colander, gently stir every couple of minutes to prevent sticking. Consider using a soft kitchen spatula to prevent breaking.
Now that we have the pasta out of the way…
I love a salad loaded with fresh vegetables and a variety of color. This recipe also offers a variety of flavors, including the briny-ness of Kalamata olives, the salty pepperoni and the tang of feta cheese. The recipe calls for Greek Girls Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette (which can be found here). However, any good Greek-style dressing would work just as well.
Finally, the pepperoni. I started putting it in my pasta salad more years ago than I’d like to admit. It was before the days of on-line recipes and I have looked at my cookbooks from that time, but don’t see where I might have gotten the inspiration. Maybe it was because I had teenage boys at home and my fridge had pepperoni on a regular basis. However it started, pepperoni in pasta salad has become a tradition at my house, so I am passing it on. Enjoy!
Greek Girls Pepperoni Pasta Salad
- 12 oz Tricolor spiral pasta (cooked and cooled)
- 1 pint Grape tomatoes
- 1 large Cucumber (peeled, quartered and sliced into ½” chunks)
- 16 ounce jar Kalamata olives (drained)
- 1½ cups Red, Yellow and/or Green pepper (chopped into ½" chunks)
- ½ cup Greek Girls Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette
- 3 ounces Sliced pepperoni (cut into quarters)
- 2 to 4 ounces Crumbled feta cheese
- Cook the pasta according to package direction until just done (about 10 minutes). Drain into a colander, rinse with cool water and allow pasta to cool completely before combining with remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally to help the pasta cool.
- While the pasta water comes to a boil and the pasta is cooking, rinse the tomatoes, peel and slice the cucumber, drain the olives and chop the peppers. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, olives and peppers into a large bowl. Add the cooled pasta and toss gently to combine.
- Shake the Greek Girls Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette and pour ½ cup over the pasta mixture. Toss to coat the pasta, vegetables and olives. Add more vinaigrette to taste.
- Top the pasta salad with quartered pepperoni slices and crumbled feta. Refrigerate for several to ensure the salad is cooled throughout.