Colorful Party Pasta Salad

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Cook time: 10 Min  Prep time: 45 Min  Serves: 12-20

Ingredients:

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ITALIAN DRESSING

2 c olive oil, extra virgin

1 c red wine vinegar

1 whole bay leaf

1 sprig(s) fresh rosemary

2 clove garlic, peeled, whole

2 clove garlic, peeled, & minced

3/4 tsp parsley, Italian

1/2 tsp celery salt

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp basil, dried

1/2 tsp thyme, dried

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 Tbsp oregano, dried

PASTA SALAD

1 lb pasta, tri-colored fusilli (cooked according to package directions, drained & cooled)

1 large cucumber, peeled and diced

1 large red onion, peeled & diced

1 medium green pepper, diced

1 medium red pepper, diced

1 medium yellow pepper, diced

4 medium roma tomatoes, dices1 medium stick of pepperoni, paper removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick, then diced

1 can(s) medium black olives, drained & sliced

1-8 oz brick, mozzarella cheese

1-8 oz brick, sharp cheddar cheese

fresh grated romano cheese (add when serving)

1 bunch broccoli florets, chopped

1 sprig(s) rosemary, chopped

fresh oregano to taste, chopped

Directions :

1. To make dressing: In a large glass jar or bottle with a lid, add whole garlic, bay leaf, & rosemary sprig. Add extra virgin olive oil & red wine vinegar. Add all remaining seasonings.Place lid on jar and shake gently to mix well. (Taste dressing & add adjust seasonings toyour taste.) Refrigerate any unused dressing. NOTE: Dressing is
Colorful Party Pasta Saladbest if left to sit 24 hours before use. This allows the garlic & rosemary to infuse into the oil & vinegar. Homemade is best, but you can use your favorite Italian dressing as well.

2. Prepare pasta according to directions, drain, cool, & drizzle with a small amount of EVOO & set aside. NOTE: Pasta salad is very versatile, & if it’s a last minute request, I make with what I have on hand. I always have fresh vegetables in my fridge, & ingredients for Italian dressing. If I don’t have red or yellow peppers, I use extra green peppers. Sometimes I add celery too. It really just depends on what I have on hand. But the recipe herein is by far my favorite way to prepare this wonderful salad!

3. Chop all vegetables & add to pasta, mix in well.

4. Dice pepperoni & cheeses; add to pasta and vegetables. Fold in. Add fresh seasonings to taste.

5. Add Italian dressing & stir well. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving. Best if made the day beforehand.

6. Stir well and add fresh grated Romano cheese just before serving.

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