Thursday, July 19, 2007

Antipasto with Gusto!

Today I made an antipasto pasta salad for dinner...I am excited for my husband, Matt, to try it. I think he will love it! I have grad classes on Thursday nights, and Matt plays in a golf league, so this is a perfect meal for us to eat quickly either before or after whatever we have going on.

I started with Giada's Antipasto Salad recipe, and made only a few minor changes. Here is Giada's recipe (from

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Antipasto Salad:
1 pound fusilli pasta
1/2 cup hard salami, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup smoked turkey, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup provolone cheese, cut into strips
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons green olives, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, add the basil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Serve.

Here are the changes I made...

I mixed the dressing in a food processor instead of a blender, because streaming in the olive oil was much easier this way. Also, I added artichokes and also ham to the salad. I used whole wheat rotini instead of the fusilli, and I served this dish cold. The recipe didn't call for chilling at all, but I made the pasta before work this morning, assembled the salad this afternoon, and will serve cold tonight. I also cubed the salami and cheese, and next time I make it, I will cube into even smaller pieces. I might even go with regular deli salami, as opposed to the hard salami, as it was pretty tough and really salty. Actually, I would cut out all salt from the recipe, as the salami, artichokes, and olives have enough on their own.

Also, I made less pasta than she calls for (just over a half-pound) and used as much meat and cheese as she called for (even more turkey, actually). If I were making this to bring to a party, or to serve along with other things, I would keep the proportions the same as in her recipe, but since this will be our dinner, I wanted to bulk up on the meat and reduce the amount of pasta. Also, I like a thickly coated pasta salad, so I would make a little extra dressing as well.

Oh, and instead of mixing the grated Asiago cheese in with the salad, I used it as a garnish, in addition to some basil I had set aside.

I tasted some of this after I made it, and although salty, I loved it! I hope my hubby feels the same way tonight!

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