Pasta Salad is one of our summer staples. Doesn't take long to make and tastes great cold! I've discovered that the best way to make pasta salad taste really good is by putting over twice as many vegetables as cooked pasta. The other secret is by steaming or roasting the vegetables until they are crunchy done, then putting them in ice water to stop the cooking process before adding them to the salad. This keeps the vegetables vibrant flavor and color, without having such a crunchy salad. There are SO many variations, but don't be daunted by all the options. Just choose one or two steamed vegetables and a couple flavor ingredients--you don't have to have very many things in the salad. Just keep in mind color variety and flavor combinations, top with your favorite dressing, and you'll have the best pasta salad out there!
For a fresh pasta salad, toss pasta with a hint of olive oil, salt, and herbs. Chill separately.
Just before serving, add pasta to a fresh salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onions, etc.) and serve with your favorite Italian dressing. Don't make too much, as leftovers don't keep well.
COOK pasta in salt water until tender.
DRAIN pasta, rinse lightly, and set aside.
CHOP and steam vegetables until crunchy done. Cool immediately in ice water and drain.
PLACE vegetables and pasta in large mixing bowl.
ADD remaining ingredients and mix gently.
POUR into serving bowls and refrigerate.
KEEPS 5-7 days if kept well chilled.