For today's recipe in my A to Z Recipe Challenge, I could not think of a Mexican recipe or ingredient with the letter I. (If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments, in case I ever decide to do another A to Z Challenge.) Ice cream is always the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about foods that start with the letter I (we play a lot of Scattergories), but I already had an ice cream recipe planned for another letter of the alphabet, which I'll be posting later this week.
So I turned to my family for help, and Hope suggested I make something Italian (her all-time favorite food). Upon hearing the word "Italian", Nick's ears perked up as it is also his favorite cuisine. Nick suggested I make his favorite "Italian" appetizers that I make for parties--which are just olives, salami, and cubes of Manchego cheese on toothpicks--but I thought it too simple of a recipe. So, his next suggestion was to make the "really good" pasta salad that tastes like the appetizers he loves. And that is why today's recipe is brought to you by the letter I and this Italian Pasta Salad.
This creamy Italian Pasta Salad is probably one of the oldest recipes in my repertoire (I've been making it for about 25 years) and it's super easy to make. This salad makes a ton, so it's perfect for a potluck or a cook-out with family and friends.
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. rotini pasta
- 4 oz. bacon
- 8 oz salami, thinly sliced and cut in quarters
- 8 oz. pepperoni slices, cut in quarters
- 1 (10 oz.) jar pimento-stuffed olives, drained and sliced
- 2 (6 oz.) cans black olives, drained and sliced
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 8 oz. Manchego cheese, diced
- 3/4 cup Italian dressing
- 1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
Cook the rotini pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; remove from heat. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease.
In a large bowl mix together the cooked pasta, the salami, pepperoni, olives, and cheeses. Stir in the Italian dressing and Mexican crema, until well combined. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Crumble the cooked bacon into the salad. Cover and refrigerate salad for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!