Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

My husband and I grew up in a very small town so on the weekends it was not out of the norm for us to drive an hour to go to the closest mall or to go find some entertainment outside of town. On our way back home we frequently passed this wonderful little Italian deli. They had the BEST sandwiches and side salads. One of the side salads, which my husband absolutely loved, was their Italian pasta salad. I did my best to recreate this salad just for him. This makes a party sized batch, so if you are just making it for the family I recommend halving it. This is a perfect salad for a bbq or potluck and is sure to be a hit with all partygoers.

Note: This pasta salad will last approximately 4 days in the fridge. It gets better each and every day as the Italian dressing soaks into the pasta and veggies.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb rotini noodles
2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 c Newman’s Family Recipe Italian dressing
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 c red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c red onion, chopped
1/2 c celery, sliced
2-6 oz jars artichoke hearts. drained
1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 c mozzarella cheese, cut into squares
2.25 oz can black olives, sliced
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of water and the 2 tbsp of salt to a boil.
  • Add noodles and cook per package instructions.
  • Drain the cooked pasta and rinse with cold water.
  • Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bow.
  • Add the Italian dressing, garlic, red bell pepper, red onion, celery, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and olives.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  • Refrigerate the pasta for 3 or more hours.  The longer the better.
  • Stir well before serving.
Side Dishes

Recipe—Italian Style Stuffed Artichokes

One of my best friends used to work in this cute little Italian deli that had numerous homemade Italian dishes. My three favorite things there was their gelato (which my friend kindly delivered to my door step while I was pregnant, becasue she’s awesome like that), eggplant parmesan, and their Italian stuffed artichokes. I LOVE their stuffed artichokes! They are a tad bit messy to eat but so delicious! When I eat artichokes I’m the type of gal that needs soemthing to dip the leaves in, whether it be mayonnaise, aioli, or garlic butter. However with these there is so much flavor in the bread crumbs that no dip is necessary. You just pull the bread crumbs off with the tender ends of the leaves.

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic
salt and pepper
1 c Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
2 large artichokes
1/2 of a lemon

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.
  • Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  • Remove the skillet form heat and stir in breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
  • Season bread crumbs with salt and pepper.
  • Put a pot of water on to boil. (The amount of water you will need will depend on the size of your baking dish. You will need enough that the artichokes can sit in 1” of water.)
  • Prepare the artichokes by slicing off the stems and their tops and then pulling off the small outer leaves. (I trim about an inch off. This exposes the center leaves making it easier to remove them.)
  • Using a pair of kitchen shear trim the pointy tips off of the leaves.
  • Take the lemon half and rub it all over the artichokes. (This keeps the cut areas from turning an ugly brown color and gives it a nice little zest.)
  • Gently try to loosen up the dense center leaves by pressing them outward.
  • Pull out some of the thin center leaves if you are able to, creating a small well in the middle.
  • Stuff the prepared breadcrumbs in the center well and in between the large leaves.
  • Place the stuffed artichokes in a baking dish.
  • Once your water has come to a boil, carefully pour it into the baking dish so that the artichokes are sitting in 1” of water.
  • Cover the entire baking dish tightly with foil.
  • Bake in the over for 1 hour or until the leaves are cooked to desired tenderness.