I made an amazing pasta salad for a family gathering on Saturday. My goal was to incorporate as many colors as possible. You can easily adjust the amounts for the number of people. The recipe below is for 35 people, and you will definitely have some leftovers!
2 lbs. rotini, cooked al dente and cooled
2 small orange bell peppers, diced
8 oz. kalamata olives, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, roasted** and cut into 1" chunks
1 pint grape tomatos, halved
7 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
8 oz. colby jack cheese, cubed
8 oz. dill havarti cheese, cubed
1 stick turkey summer sausage, cubed
8 oz. sliced pepperoni, chopped
Italian salad dressing
fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients. The salad dressing is strictly by eye and by taste for me - it may vary depending on when you add it to the pasta, how dry your other ingredients are, etc. I think next time I would also add julienned carrots for color and include red or yellow bell peppers in addition to the orange.
This pasta salad was colorful and delicious. The majority of the work is the prep, so I cooked my pasta and chopped my veggies and cheeses two nights before the party, chopped my meats and put the salad together the night before, and was ready to go in the morning.
**To roast asparagus: Toss clean, trimmed asparagus spears in olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cooked through but not soft.