Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Great American Macaroni Salad

This is the salad I'm taking to my mom's tonight for my grandma's 90th birthday party. It's from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Pasta & Co. By Request." I've posted other recipes in the past from it as well. My good friend Jess gave it to me for Christmas several years ago because it's a favorite of hers also. The best part is she went through and made comments on the recipes from it she had tried. I love looking through it and reading her comments and trying the ones she liked. So this one was marked "really good." I don't know, it's just fun to see my friend's hand-writing randomly here and there. I thought it was a cool idea, so I've tried to do it too when I give my favorite cookbooks as gifts.

Anyway, this one takes some prep time because there are a lot of veggies to chop. Normally I grab a stool and sit at the kitchen counter to do it because I get tired of standing, but this time I broke it up. I chopped up all the vegetables yesterday afternoon, mixed up the dressing this morning, then cooked the macaroni after we ate lunch. Made it a lot easier than trying to do it all at once.

The Great American Macaroni Salad
1 pound macaroni
1-1/4 cups Best Foods brand mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1-1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp garlic, put through a garlic press
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp Tabasco
2 cups green bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/8 inch die
1-1/2 cups celery, cut into 1/8 inch die
1 cup cucumber, seeded, cut into 1/4 inch die and drained
1 cup sliced or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
1/2 cup sliced or coarsely chopped pitted black olives
1/3 cup red onion, cut into 1/8 inch die
1 (4-ounce) jar pimiento strips, including all juices
6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/8 inch cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until tender. Rinse with cold water and let drain thoroughly.

While pasta cooks, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, garlic, dry mustard, salt, black pepper, paprika, and Tabasco in a large bowl. WHen pasta has cooled to room temperature, toss with the dressing. Fold in bell pepper, celery, cucumber, green and black olives, red onion, pimiento and juices, cheese, and one third of the parsley. Spoon into serving dish and top with remaining parsley and additional paprika. Serve at room temperature.


Man I looked all over online for that recipe so I wouldn't have to type it out, but no luck. Oh well. I've always gotten rave reviews when I've taken it somewhere. I hesitate to make it because it kind of takes awhile to put it all together, but the way I did it this time made a lot of difference I think. I think the only thing I didn't do was follow the size measurements for dicing vegetables. 1/8th of an inch?! Come on! Oh, and for the black olives I used a 4 ounce can I think it was, drained it, and dumped the whole thing in. I have a cool tool that you put over the top of an open can, hold it on there, tip the can upside down, and it drains without any of the stuff other than liquid coming out. Came in very handy for this.

I've already sampled it (it didn't all fit into the fancy bowl I wanted to use), and it's really good. I used a 16-ounce box of Barilla macaroni. I've used bigger sized macaroni before, and it made way too much. This size gave the salad the perfect "stuff" to dressing ratio, I think. I hope there's some left to bring home, but I think there are going to be 13 or 14 people there, so my chances are probably pretty slim.

I'll be back on Monday with our dinner for that night. Mr. Lew, if you're reading this, let me know what night you want to come over for dinner and what you want. I'm grocery shopping Tuesday, so I need to know by Monday night or first thing Tuesday morning!

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