Summer Pasta Salad
One menu item that you’ll find at pretty much any of my summer family gatherings is a pasta salad. Inclusions vary depending on who makes it, but they always have one thing in common – a healthy dose of meats, veggies and cheese in a zest vinaigrette. This is the version I make when I’m in charge of bringing pasta salad to a BBQ.
Summer Pasta Salad with Pepperoncini & Pecorino Vinaigrette
FOR THE PASTA SALAD:
- 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
- 1 7-ounce container grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 ¼ cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, halved
- 1 small red onion, julienned
- 4 ounces pepperoni, quartered
- 4 ounces ¼-inch thick sliced mortadella, cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 4 ounces ¼-inch thick sliced Genoa salami, cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 1 pound ciliegine mozzarella, halved
- 1 large bunch basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish
- 1 1-pound box cavatappi
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 2 pepperoncini, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon pepperoncini brine
- 2 teaspoons clover honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons pecorino
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup floral extra-virgin olive oil
- MAKE THE SALAD: In a large serving bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, olives, red onion, pepperoni, mortadella, salami, mozzarella and basil and gently toss to combine.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook the cavatelli in the boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and run cold water over it until completely cooled.
- Add the pasta to the serving bowl and gently toss to combine.
- MAKE THE DRESSING: In a medium bowl, whisk the pepperoncini and brine, honey, mustard, pecorino, oregano and pepper to combine.
- Add the vinegar and whisk to combine.
- Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, to emulsify.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and gently toss to combine.
- Let sit for 30 minutes, then gently toss again and serve.