A Little Southern Funning and a Whole Lot of Good Eating
This post goes out to my Italian buddy Frank Fariello, fancy lawyer by day and fine cook by night up in the big city of Washington DC. I officially give him the title ‘il mio proffessor della cucina italiana’, catch up with him at Memorie di Angelina.
Now, to the best of my knowledge, our family does not have Italian connections whatsoever. Not one link of DNA. That does not mean Momma did not cook Italian. Heck yeah she did, well, as Italian as an Alabama born girl could I guess. Oh yeah Frank, we’re educated folks down here. We got these here magazines with recipes. Momma learned lots of things and turned them around using the fine delectables from the local Piggly Wiggly. She made a flavorful red sauce dish to go with her spinach meatballs, her ratatouille had a little country twist, pork chops smothered in tomatoes and basil is still my favorite, her succulent chicken in wine fell off the bones and a zabaglione that I never could pronounce. Yep, her Italian cooking was okay by me.
The thing about this salad is that it makes a big ol’ bowl and feeds a plenty of folks. It’s good for a large family gathering, a street party, a big city social or a barn-raising – pull it out whenever a large crowd comes a calling. Of course, you can easily half the recipe if desired.
You may not want to use the mayonnaise, that’s a southern thing, so are a few of the other ingredients, so Frank and the rest of you Northerners, use your favorite vinaigrette, dressing or seasoned olive oil and change up the seasonings to your liking. In fact, it’s like many of our recipes, you can use what you like.
Now this salad may not be anything near Italian, in fact, the only thing it has going on is a few ingredients and the name, but to Momma and to us, it was good enough. Enjoy!
Momma’s Italian Pasta Salad
1 -16 oz small mini farfalle or ditali pasta
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced red onions
1 cup diced cauliflower
1 cup diced broccoli florets
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 cup diced mild cheddar cheese
1 cup diced Swiss cheese (or feta)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup diced kosher dill pickles (or I like bread & butter)
1 cup diced salami
1/2 cup Calamata brined cured olives
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers -drained well
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
Cook pasta al dente, rinse until cool and drain well. In a large bowl, add pasta and the next 11 ingredients. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Mix in the next 6 ingredients and carefully fold in the mayonnaise and roasted peppers. Chill another hour before serving.
Note: I added a handful of cherry tomatoes. sliced plum tomatoes would be great too.