Thursday, March 26, 2015

Antipasto-Style Pasta Salad (No One Says: Where's the Meat???)

We often make Italian pasta salad for parties, picnics, showers, etc. It's a family favorite, but I've learned that my family...

And Dave's...

Are not afraid to let their preferences be heard when it comes to what they like in their pasta salad. Meat...

And more meat!

And cheese.

And more meat!

Kav, darling, my veggie version of this includes celery and carrots (steamed slightly so old folks don't break dentures!), cauliflower and broccoli florets, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes (love 'em!!!) and artichoke hearts.

I had a helper while making this so the pics are slightly discordant. Blame Finn. Note that he had to keep grabbing the only GLASS item on the table. The little jar in front is McCormick's Salad Supreme seasoning, this is the amazing seasoning that gives my pasta salad the Oh My Gosh quality folks love.

This version for the combo birthday for Elijah (age 5) and Ol' Dave (aged more than 5) was the carnivore special! And I always make it a day or two ahead, giving the seasonings and dressing time to blend. This intensifies the taste, and that's a wonderful thing!

Here's the list of ingredients, but honestly, the key to great pasta salad is using tons of seasoning... think antipasto tray, layered, then seasoned.... and a favorite Italian dressing (home-made or bottled) and a ton of Parmesan cheese.

1 lb box of pasta (I use Rotini), cooked, cooled quickly and drained. Cook al dente, keep a little firm
2 cans black olives
2 large jars artichoke hearts, seasoned
1 pound high quality ham, cubed
1 pound high quality salami, cubed
1/2 pound high quality pepperoni, cubed
1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
1 cup (give or take) Parmesan cheese (I use grated because shredded gets gummy after sitting)
Approximately 24 oz. Italian salad dressing.
1 full jar Salad Supreme seasoning (more is never a bad thing with this stuff.)

Finn's like: "Um, you took all my breakable playthings, Grammy. 'Sup wi' dat???"

Layer everything.

Pour on the dressing.

Bright and rustic??? Bright and rustic???? I'm wondering about this, but okay.... I consider myself bright and rustic!


Here's the cookie cake our friends Dave and Jen (different Dave) gave my Dave for his birthday:

How sweet are they? Do you think it took long for our crowd to demolish this?  Nom, nom, nom..... !!!

And because there's no sign of spring up here (yes, still dustings of snow) here are Mary Ruth and Megan making a cut-and-paste garden.... because we can make our own spring, thank you very much!

And because Christmas should be in our hearts all year long, this is Brody's rendition of the Nativity Set.... And, in his words, he faced everyone out so you all could see them smile when I took the picture.

:)  What a sweetheart of a kid.


  1. Okay -- I love that the kids are still playing with the nativity set!

    Thanks for the vegetarian aside, Ruthy. :-) I love salads because they can be custom made and suit all kinds of dietary restrictions. I've never made a salad as huge as that one though! If you're not careful you could lose Finn in it.

    1. Hahaha! Finn is my shadow. A watchman. He's so funny. He studies everything I do as if memorizing the moves. Everyone else is off playing, living life. Finn hangs by us. Of course with 2 older brothers, it's probably a life-saving maneuver!!!

  2. How precious!! I just love those photos. I want to eat that little Finn up. He's the cutest thing ever!

    Ruthy, some of the best pasta salad I've ever eaten had that salad seasoning in it--a full bottle just like you said. I need to buy some and make this! My family would be in heaven. Thank you!

    1. That seasoning makes the whole thing, Missy. I could sit and eat just the pasta with that seasoning!!! It's that good, like a perfect blend. Love it!

  3. BTW, you don't use any onion or green pepper?

    1. Missy, I don't because so many people react to them fresh. So you could, but up here, then 50% of the population can't eat it. I'm also careful about peppers in it, although I layer them in Antipasto. It's probably Dave's fault. Isn't it always???? :)

  4. I love that salad. It will be attending the next carry-in dinner at church.

    One of my pet peeves about pasta salads is that there is rarely enough seasoning, and I've never heard of the Salad Supreme seasoning.

    If you put two and two together in the previous paragraph, you'll know whose pasta salads I don't like!

    Keeping this recipe on file. I'll have to find one of those Finn guys, too. Obviously, anything he helps make turns out fabulous :)

    1. Jan, they used to have bigger spice bottles of it at Sam's and I'd get a big jar and that would be like 3-4 big salads. But then they stopped, so the little McCormick bottle is just right for one salad. We'll make a bowl of this and munch on it for days. Literally days. It's always better after a day or two, so it's a great snack. I'll eat the meat and cheese to keep low-carb and the rest of the family... well, they get to eat everything. The stinkin' brats. :)

  5. I love this. I wonder if I could use roasted potatoes instead of pasta.

    And what is Salad Supreme?

    1. Julie, this is Salad Supreme: SALAD SUPREME AT WALMART

      And sure you could use potatoes, why not? It would be lovely. Meat and potatoes keep all of us Yankees mighty happy, Little Miss!!!