Inspired by traditional antipasto flavors, we wanted to create a pasta salad that could take on hearty, interesting mix-ins. We started with fusilli pasta, which was substantial enough to hold up to the larger pieces of meat and cheese. Thickly cut salami and provolone added savory bite and richness, and sliced kalamata olives added a brininess to punch up the flavor. With several rich ingredients in the mix, a mayonnaise-based dressing was overkill, so we swapped it out in favor of a bright vinaigrette accented with tangy sun-dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, garlic, and basil. When left to marinate for a day or two, the pasta took on even more flavor; to loosen the dressing and quickly take the chill off the pasta, we stirred in a little boiling water. Chopped baby spinach added just before serving lent extra color and freshness. Other pasta shapes can be substituted for the fusilli.
Recipe: Fusilli Salad with Salami, Provolone, and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Serves 4 to 6
- 8 ounces fusilli
- ¾ teaspoon table salt, plus salt for cooking pasta
- ¾ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, patted dry, and minced, plus 2 tablespoons packing oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¾ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 (¼-inch-thick) slices deli salami or pepperoni (8 ounces), cut into 1-inch-long matchsticks
- 4 (¼-inch-thick) slices deli provolone (8 ounces), cut into 1-inch-long matchsticks
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 2 ounces (2 cups) baby spinach, chopped
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until tender. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, and drain again, leaving pasta slightly wet.
2. Whisk sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, basil, garlic, pepper, and salt together in large bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in olive oil and sun-dried tomato packing oil. Add pasta, salami, cheese, and olives and toss to combine. (To make ahead, toss fusilli, salami, cheese, and olives with half of vinaigrette; refrigerate pasta mixture and remaining vinaigrette separately for up to 2 days. To serve, bring to room temperature, then stir in vinaigrette, then stir vinaigrette and ¼ cup boiling water into pasta mixture before continuing.)
3. Add spinach and gently toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and extra vinegar to taste. Serve.
If you like this recipe as much as we do, check out "The Complete Salad Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen.