Italian Picnic Pasta Salad; Weekly Menu

In honor of Canada Day today and Independence Day on Monday I'm re-posting my absolutley favorite, picnic-perfect, hands-down best ever pasta salad.

Long, long ago in a place far, far away I made a pasta salad for our family reunion.

This was an annual event in the old, Mid-Western tradition of family reunions, with aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, grandparents, grandkids, first, second and third cousins, two and three times removed.

A moment to pass on a totally tedious bit of information:

You are the first cousin to the children of your parent's sibling.

You are the first cousin once removed to the children of your first cousins

You are the second cousin to the grandchildren of your grandparent's siblings.
       Or put another way….

Your children are second cousins to your first cousins once removed.

Just thought you'd want to know.

The topic came up every year….

Back to my family reunion: Each year over 100 people attended, ranging in age from newborn to well over 90.

I had only been attending as an adult (meaning I had to bring 'a dish to pass') for 3 or 4 years.

It's inevitable at these events that one year there will be 10 potato salads, lots of fried chicken and no baked beans; the next year will be nothing but baked beans and cole slaw.

My pasta salad was the only one.

I was so happy.  I remember thinking: Whew, got this one figured out.  I'll just make pasta salad every year and not worry about it.

The next year there were 15 pasta salads.

Italian Picnic Pasta Salad

6oz (200gr) sliced, hard salami
1 red onion
1 cup green olives (or Greek dry-cured, kalamata, whatever you like) I used 1/2 green and 1/2 Greek
4oz (125gr) mushrooms
2 ribs celery
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 green bell pepper or any color
2 cups bite-size pasta, farfalle, elbow macaroni, fusilli, shells
1 tbs olive oil
Italian Vinaigrette

Cook pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain, put into a large bowl (or back into the cooled pot) and toss with olive oil.
Slice celery 1/4" (.5cm) thick, cut cherry tomatoes in half, and chop pepper. Add all three to pasta and toss lightly.
Cut salami in half or into quarters. Peel and quarter the onion then slice thinly. Clean mushrooms and slice. Cut olives in halves or thirds. Put salami, mushrooms, onions and olives into another bowl and add vinaigrette. Allow to marinate, at room temperature, for 1 – 3 hours.
Before serving add marinated vegetables to pasta and toss to combine. If not serving immediately, refrigerate to chill.

Italian Vinaigrette

1/2 tbs Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs white wine (tarragon) vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
5 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
1 tsp snipped fresh chives
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Place mustard, vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Slow add olive oil, whisking constantly, to combine. When all oil is in and emulsified, add herbs.

In addition to this, for the week of July 1 we have Grilled Trout, Caesar Salad, Barbecued Pork, Spanish-style White Beans, Caper Potato Salad….

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5 thoughts on “Italian Picnic Pasta Salad; Weekly Menu”

  1. Have to laugh… we have a reunion dinner every year, but I have a battle axe aunt that assigns dishes. But only the women in the family, I am not allowed (but my wife gets assigned to buy rolls every year).

  2. Potlucks have no rhyime or reason, but they are always filled with great food even if you have to eat 15 pasta salads. I love it that you all get together every year if you can.

  3. Dave, I used to have an aunt like that. And men can’t cook…..
    Val, I used to love it when we had 15 different Brownies!
    manningroad, yes, they were all different, some better than others….
    Peggy, it’s still my favorite!

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