For lunch or a light dinner: antipasto salad.
Photo courtesy Melissas.
Turn your leftover pasta into an antipasto salad.
You can boil the pasta from scratch, but whenever we make short cut pasta for a hot dish, we make extra for a cold pasta salad later in the week.
You can customize the recipe with your favorite ingredients, and use up leftover peas and other veggies. With this recipe from Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook, prep time is 30 minutes, total time 50 minutes.
RECIPE: ANTIPASTO SALAD
Ingredients For 12 Servings (1-1/4 Cups)
For The Salad
1 pound fusilli, rotini or other corkscrew pasta
1/2 pound (about 2 cups) cooked ham, cubed
5 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cubed
4 ounces (3/4 cup) hard salami, cubed
3 ounces pepperoni (3/4 cup), cut into strips
1/2 cup pitted or stuffed green olives
1/2 cup pitted black olives (Kalamata or Picholine)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion or sweet onion, very thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
Pepperoncini pickled peppers
Sundried tomatoes, julienned, or fresh tomatoes (wedges or halved cherry tomatoes
For The Vinaigrette
1/4 seasoned rice vinegar or wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 sundried tomato, finely diced (about 1
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil or canola oil
1. COOK pasta per package directions; drain, rinse with cold water and cool to room temperature.
2. MAKE the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients, except for the oil. Drizzle in the oil while whisking, and continue to mix until well combined. Set aside.
3. COMBINE the pasta with the remaining salad ingredients except optional garnishes; season with salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, toss with dressing and top with the garnishes.
Here’s another antipasto salad recipe with a different set of ingredients.
Be adventurous: Try different shapes like gemelli (juh-MELL-lee, meaning “twins”) instead of the more common fusilli in the photo above. Photo courtesy Barilla.
WHAT IS SHORT CUT PASTA?
Think of Italian pasta in these general categories:
Long Form Or Strand Pasta. This refers to any spaghetti-like that you can twist around your fork. These pastas are made in varying widths, from the thinnest angel hair to the plumpest bucatini. They can be round or flat (see ribbon pasta, next), solid or hollow, like bucatini.
Ribbon Pasta. A sub-category of long form pasta. These are the flat cuts: fettuccine, lasagne, linguine and tagliatelle, for example.
Short form pasta takes several forms:
Tubular Pasta. From tiny to jumbo, smooth or ridged (“rigati”), straight-cut or diagonally cut, this category includes elbows, manicotti, penne and rigatoni are well-known cuts. In this category, the seemingly same size pasta will have a different name if the ends are straight-cut versus diagonally cut—for example, penne, straight tubes cut on the diagonal, versus rigatoni, with square-cut ends.
Shaped Pasta. Farfalle (bow ties), fusilli (corkscrews), ruote (wagon wheels) are prominent examples. There are endless ways to twist and curl and shape pasta; hence, the hundreds of regional varieties.
Stuffed Pasta. This group includes agnolotti, mezzelune, ravioli, tortellini and “dumpling” pasta like gnocchi.
See the different types of pasta in our Pasta Glossary.