Sunday, July 20, 2008

Antipasti Pasta Salad

My mom buys marinated artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes in huge jars, so every time I visit her I make a big bowl of this tangy pasta salad using generous scoops of each. It's so good! This recipe makes a huge bowl of salad, perfect for a potluck, or just eating for lunch all week long.

Antipasti Pasta Salad

1 lb rotini (or your favorite curly pasta)
2 cups broccoli florets
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cups marinated artichoke hearts, halved or quartered
1 cup sundried tomato strips, packed in oil
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (white or red), OR 1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Cook noodles according to directions, using the minimum cooking time listed (your pasta will absorb dressing and soften over time, so you want it to be al dente!). Add your broccoli and carrots in with the noodles for the last 2 minutes of cooking to blanch them (this will save you an extra cooking pot). Drain pasta and veggies in a colander and immediately run cold water over them until they are completely cooled, to prevent overcooking. Leave the colander to drain while you prepare the dressing in a large mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and stir, then add the drained, cold pasta/veggies and mix well. Store in a sealed container in the fridge at least an hour before serving. It will keep for about a week, and the flavor gets even better after a day or two.

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