I adore pasta salad. And I adore antipasto salad. This Emeril Lagasse recipe combines both of these into a fabulous flavorful dish that will knock the socks off your guests.
Because it’s chilled, this is a perfect hot summer dinner or lunch choice.
And, even better…this dish is extremely portable. We have taken it to numerous potlucks — even serving it at a picnic on the ocean while sailing with friends. We usually dress it up in a nice serving dish for dinner parties, and simply tote it in Tupperware or a large Ziplock bag when serving at an outdoor venue.
Since this isn’t exactly a low-cal salad or meal, I do only make it when we’re entertaining or attending a party.
Jeff note: One of the best parts of this recipe, is you can customize it as you wish. We’ve generally added at least a cup of olives (green, black, kalamata, or some combination of them) and a cup of quartered marinated baby artichoke hearts, and you can also add cherry tomatoes (whole or sliced) and substitute out the cheeses or meats (capicola or pepperoni or summer sausage or…) to your personal preferences.
- 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound rotini pasta (we like whole wheat or tri-color)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Emeril’s Italian Essence, or other dried Italian herb mixture
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ cups ¼-inch cubes provolone
- 1 cup thinly sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup pimento stuffed and/or kalamata and/or black olives (our optional addition)
- 1 cup marinated quartered baby artichoke hearts (our optional addition)
- 1 cup thinly sliced salami (1/4 pound)
- 1 cup thinly sliced prosciutto (1/4 pound)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- Combine 2 tablespoons salt, the olive oil, and 4 quarts water in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the rotini and cook, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking together, until just al dente, about 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mash together the garlic and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar, Italian Essence, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
- Drain the rotini and rinse under cold running water until cool. Add to the vinaigrette, along with the provolone, tomatoes, olives, salami, prosciutto, parsley, and basil. Toss to mix. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Let the salad return to room temperature before serving.
- NOTE: We've generally added at least a cup of olives (green, black, kalamata, or some combination of them) and a cup of quartered marinated baby artichoke hearts, and you can also add cherry tomatoes (whole or sliced) and substitute out the cheeses or meats (capicola or pepperoni or summer sausage or...) to your personal preferences.