Like all our family gatherings, we had a lot of food. And by a lot, I mean enough to feed a small nation. We are all afraid of not having enough food that we make too much food. This is something we really need to work on, both as a family and individually. But that is a topic to delve into another time.It was fun to be in the kitchen with both of my sisters again. It has been far too long since we all cooked together. Honestly, I cannot really remember the last time we three cooked together. Maybe ten years? But it is something I would like to see us do more frequently (which would be maybe once a year, being realistic.) Each person contributed in one way or another to a meal or meals for the weekend, most particularly my sister Jennifer. She is a great cook in her own right and she shared this recipe with me this weekend.
First off, it was fabulous. I kept watching her throw things in and was thinking it was going to be amazing. How could smoked sausage and pepperoni not be amazing? Second, cheese…both parmesan and cheddar. She used sharp, which I love, but any cheddar would be delicious. Adding in the raw veggies and the salad dressing, I’m in love. I’m not a huge fan of black olives. I have a running argument in my head over using these chopped olives versus whole olives. The whole ones would be easy for me to pick out, but the chopped ones were valuable aesthetically speaking.
Thanks Jenn for a wonderful pasta salad!
Jenn's Pasta Salad
- 1 lb box tri-colored rotini pasta
- 1 bell pepper; diced
- 1/2 can chopped olives (4.25 oz size); +/- to taste
- 1 large carrot; diced (or 10-15 baby carrots)
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese; cubed
- 1 small head of broccoli; cut into florets
- 1-14 oz package smoked sausage ; quartered & sliced
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese; finely grated
- 1-16 oz bottle Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing
- 2-3 oz pepperoni slices; quartered
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
Cook the pasta according to package directions, making sure to stop cooking when it is al dente.
Drain the pasta and toss the warm pasta with 1/4 cup of the salad dressing to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
Set aside and allow the noodles to cool completely.
While the pasta is cooling, quickly brown the smoked sausage, pour off the rendered fat and allow the meat to cool on a paper towel to absorb any excess fat.
Dice the bell pepper, carrot, and cut the broccoli.
Cube the cheddar cheese and quarter the pepperoni slices.
Once the pasta has cooled, add it to a large mixing bowl.
Add the veggies, smoked sausage, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, olives, seasoned salt, garlic, and pepper. Mix well.
Add the remaining salad dressing, toss well, making sure the entire salad is coated.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.