- 1 lb Penne pasta
- 6 oz block of provolone or mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz of pepperoni or salami (I use a stick so I can cut it into cubes, but in a pinch you can use pre-sliced pepperoni too)
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 can of medium olives
- Wishbone Italian Dressing (or your favorite brand)
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
Start by filling a large pot with salted water and boiling the pasta according to the directions on the package.
While the pasta is cooking cut the cheese and meat into bite sized pieces, chop the bell pepper and halve the tomatoes and olives.
Once the pasta is done, drain and rinse it under cold water to stop it from cooking any longer. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and add enough Italian dressing to coat (this prevents the pasta from sticking to each other).
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, add more dressing to taste, and stir well. If you’d like, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the top now.
Cover and refrigerate until serving.
As simple as that, you have a delicious pasta salad! The recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled to accommodate parties and is the dish I’m always asked to bring along to barbecues. Another great thing about this pasta salad is that it can easily be made a day or in advance. Just cover and refrigerate until you need it, then make sure to give it a good stir before serving.
For a meat free dish toss in some dried cranberries – or simply leave the meat out as I often do when I’m using it as a side dish. This pasta salad became a staple during our own move because it is so easy to throw together on a busy night and doubles as easy to pack leftovers for lunch the next day!
What’s your go-to dish for a busy weeknight dinner?