The Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is almost always the most disappointing side dish at the picnic or cookout, but this recipe shows you how to transform what is normally an "afterthought" to a dish that's good enough to enjoy on its own, or as the perfect complement to grilled meat. Top this with extra fresh chopped herbs if you like.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 3tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ¼cup cider vinegar
- ¼cup rice vinegar
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 2teaspoons white sugar
- 1pinch cayenne pepper
- 1cup olive oil
- 2teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 2teaspoons chopped fresh dill
- 2teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1teaspoon chopped fresh chives
- 1teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1pound rotini (corkscrew) pasta
- 1cup sliced snow peas
- 1cup thinly sliced carrots
- ½cup shelled English peas
- 1cup broccoli florets
- ½cup diced bell peppers
- 1cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- ¼cup finely diced red onion
- 2tablespoons sliced green onions
- 1teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Step 1Whisk Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, rice vinegar, salt, sugar, and cayenne together in a large bowl for about 30 seconds. Whisk in olive oil in 1-teaspoon increments until emulsified. Whisk in tarragon, dill, parsley, chives, and thyme. Remove and reserve 1/2 of the dressing in a separate small bowl.
Step 2Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook rotini at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Add snow peas, carrots, peas, and broccoli about 2 minutes before the pasta is done. Drain pasta and veggies well, but do not rinse.
Step 3Transfer hot pasta mixture to the vinaigrette in the large mixing bowl and toss well to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes and toss again. Toss occasionally until the mixture is almost room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 4Add bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, green onions, salt, and the reserved dressing and toss well.
Step 5Wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours before serving. Toss and adjust seasoning before serving.