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Pasta Salad with Artichokes, Red Peppers and Asiago Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette red peppers pasta salad pasta asiago artichokes  food photoWith graduations, picnics and holidays in the offing for spring and summer, this Pasta Salad with Artichokes, Red Peppers and  Asiago Vinaigrette is the perfect side salad.  It was one of the most popular side salads we offered at the retail shop.  Making this pasta salad even better is the simplicity of the ingredients and preparation as well as the intensity of the taste.  The dressing definitely has more than a hint of garlic, so if you are not a garlic fan reduce the amount.  I like garlic as a background taste in dishes but would never even consider the garlic festival!  However, I love this dressing – maybe because of the asiago cheese.

This recipe uses several convenience items to speed things up.  I don’t mind using prepared items (think mayo and mustard – would anyone make these anymore?) as long as they are quality and contribute to the recipe.  The artichokes used in this pasta salad are canned and quartered.  Artichoke hearts also come frozen but truth to tell I prefer the taste of the canned ones.  The frozen can be substituted if desired.  There are products used in the  restaurant industry that aren’t available to consumers.  One of them is diced red peppers.  If you can’t find these, use diced pimentos since they are simply diced red peppers without the glamour of saying red peppers.

Lastly, one other thing to recommend this pasta salad is it’s safety factor.  This pasta salad goes to picnics perfectly as it can sit out without fear of leaving it too long.

Other side salads you might also enjoy are, Greek Tomato Salad Capanota, and Mediterranean Orzo Salad.  So fire up the grill, invite the guests and enjoy a get together with the help of one of these salads.

Asiago Vinaigrette
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoon (scant) red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated sharp asiago cheese

With the processor running, drop the garlic down the feed tube to mince. Mince well. Add the red wine vinegar, black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt to processor bowl. Pulse to mix. Combine the olive oil and vegetable oil. With the machine running, pour the oil slowly down the feed tube. Continue processing for about 10 seconds. Add the asiago and pulse several times to mix well. Remove from the bowl and set aside.

Alternately, chop the garlic finely continue as above but whisk instead of process.

Pasta Salad
1 zucchini
6 ounces canned diced red pepper or pimentos, well drained
1- 15 ounce can artichoke quarters, well drained
1 pound uncooked penne pasta

Julienne the zucchini. Place all but the pasta in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain well. Place the pasta in the bowl with the vegetables. Pour the dressing over and mix well. Cool to room temperature, stirring several times. Chill.

Serve chilled or room temperature.

Yield:  About 12 cups

Vinaigrette red peppers pasta salad pasta asiago artichokes  food photo

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