Monday, April 19, 2010

Quick Pasta Salad

We were invited to some friends' house that we hadn't been to in a while and I wanted to make sure we brought something to contribute to the ribs and beans that were being cooked up for us. I bought tri-colored pasta several weeks back knowing that I would make a pasta salad out of it, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I just kind of used what I had knowing that the salad had to be quick and easy to refrigerate--and delicious for leftovers! This pasta was a great success, although I would have added more dressing to amp up the Italian flavor; I've added that modification in the recipe below. Make this when you're in a time crunch! Enjoy!

Quick Pasta Salad
Yields: 8-10 servings

1-16 oz. bag tri-colored curly pasta (or your favorite short pasta)
1 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
1 small can sliced ripe black olives
1 avocado, cubed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper

Bring a large stock pot full of water to a boil. Add in a tablespoon of salt and allow to dissolve. Add in the curly pasta and cook according to package directions. Once the pasta is done, drain it and run cold water over it for a few minutes.

Transfer to a large serving bowl. Drain olives and add to pasta. Cut up the avocado and put it in a separate bowl; pour the lemon juice over the top of it and stir to combine. Allow to sit while you finish up--add it at the end. Add in the cheeses, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour the salad dressing over the top and add the avocado and any extra lemon juice in the bowl. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to refrigerate for at least an hour. Before you serve it, taste it to make sure you have enough salt, pepper, etc. Add in extra as you see fit. Enjoy!

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