Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Italian Pasta Salad

This colorful salad is a great warm weather main dish filled with fresh vegetables, chicken, pastrami, and cheese. Blanching the broccoli makes it crisp tender and locks in the bright green color. It doesn’t take much time since you can do it in the same water you use to boil the pasta. I like to use grilled chicken in this recipe but you can also use a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store to save time.

1 small head of broccoli, chopped
12 oz. multicolored corkscrew pasta
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
15-20 cherry tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
5 mozzarella string cheeses, chopped
½ cup diced pastrami
Italian dressing

Boil water for the pasta but first blanch the broccoli by placing it in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Remove broccoli from the ice water and pat dry with a paper towel. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with Italian dressing. Serve with warm crusty garlic bread.

Makes about 7 servings.

- Jen

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