This salad has a surprise ingredient: pasta!
Pasta isn’t a salad ingredient that you typically see here in the northeast. The only other time I’ve seen it was when I was in Minnesota last spring, and from what I can tell it’s a midwest thing. I kind of love it though! It adds a nice chewy component to the salad and bulks it up to make it more filling – in fact, that one little bowl was more than enough for me for dinner.
Besides the pasta, this salad is filled with little tastes of all sorts of good stuff like crispy bacon, seasoned chicken breast, and creamy gorgonzola cheese. It’s dressed with a super simple Sweet Italian vinaigrette.
I first saw this salad on Our Table For Seven this past May, and I was so excited to be paired up with Erin for this month’s Secret Recipe Club so I could have an excuse to make it! Erin was actually assigned to cook something from my blog a few months ago (she made my Pink Lemonade Cookies) and we both joined #SundaySupper around the same time, so I already feel like I know her. It was fun to read through her blog in more depth and pick something to make (I almost made her Crockpot Sweet Pork before I circled back around to the salad.)
Back to that pasta though. You want to use something small and compact so that it’s nice and chewy, and cook it until its just past al dente so that it stays soft (cook it about a minute longer than normal.) Erin recommends Ditalini, but something like elbows would also work. I used some of the vineyard pasta that I got in last month’s Taste Trunk, and they were perfect (and delicious!)
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