When it comes to food, the first thing that you want it to appeal to is the eye! This easy-to-make Festive Cold Pasta Salad certainly fits the bill. It is colorful, vegetable-laden, and perfect for a buffet table or a pot luck party. It is red, yellow, purple, green, and looks like delicious confetti on your table. Recently I was invited to a dinner party in Los Angeles, and I made this completely impromptu with the ingredients that I picked up at the spur of the moment. However, at the party my friends all asked me for the recipe, so I had to immediately write it down. Making this great salad is quick and easy, and you can prepare it hours ahead of time by storing it in the refrigerator. All of the fresh vegetables make it crunchy and full of flavor and vitamins too!
—1 chopped Red Bell Pepper
—1 chopped Yellow Bell Pepper
—1 chopped medium to large Purple Onion
—5 chopped stalks of Celery
—1 four ounce can of Baby Shrimp
—1 tablespoon Dill Weed (fresh or dried)
—1 teaspoon Paprika
—1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
—1 tablespoon Celery Seed
—1 1/2 to 2 cups of Olive Oil Mayonnaise
—1 pound of Pasta (Shells, Ziti, Spirals, or Cellentani are all perfect for this)
Put a large pot of water on the stove for the pasta. While you wait for it to boil, start chopping the vegetables. As you chop them, put them in a large mixing bowl, as that will be needed as it has to be big enough to mix everything together.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. However, I would recommend boiling it approximately one minute less than what the package calls for. You don’t want it over cooked, and the cooked pasta will absorb some of the liquid in the mayonnaise.
When the pasta is cooked, rinse it in cold water to stop it from cooking further. I even go to the point of rinsing it in cold water with ice cubes in it, so that it thoroughly cools before mixing it with the other ingredients.
In the mixing bowl, after you have added the celery, onions, red and yellow peppers, add the dill, ground black pepper, celery seed and paprika, drained canned baby shrimp, and stir it all together so that you don’t end up with clumps of spice.
Add the cold pasta and mayonnaise, and stir all of the ingredients in a folding fashion. With your spoon and spatula, bring up the vegetables and spice into the pasta and mayonnaise, and blend it together thoroughly. Be sure it is mixed well, but be careful not to break up the pasta or the shrimp in any way.
NOTE: I am a mayonnaise junkie, so I feel that a full two cups of it is necessary in this pasta salad. Again, the pasta will absorb some of the moisture, so more is better in my mind! Also, there is a degree of salt in the mayonnaise, so there shouldn’t be a need for additional salt.
When it is mixed, place it in a large serving bowl. For garnish, sprinkle the top with a little more paprika, or dill weed if you like. Cover it with cellophane wrap, and refrigerate it for at least one hour. This Festive Cold Pasta Salad will be dazzling and delicious when it is time