Italian Penne Pasta Salad – This pasta salad is dressed with a creamy dressing and seasoned with an Italian blend of spices. With the addition of salami, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, it not only makes a tasty side dish but it could be served as a quick main course, as well. Pasta salads are usually quite popular with my family and friends, and I especially love them for make ahead meal planning.
Italian Penne Pasta Salad
Author: Melissa Sperka
- 2½ cups dry penne pasta
- For the dressing: [see cook's note]
- 1 [0.7 oz] pkg Italian salad dressing mix [I used Good Seasons]
- 1 cup real mayonnaise
- ½ cup low fat half & half
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp each basil pesto & sugar
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small diced red onion
- ½ cup diced green
- ½ cup red pepper
- 4 oz cubed deli pepperoni
- 4 oz cubed hard salami
- ½ cup sliced/whole kalamata olives
- salt and black pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 4 oz cubed mozzarella cheese
- 3 chopped green onions
- In a medium size pot, boil the penne pasta in salted water per the instructions on the box until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dried salad dressing mix, mayonnaise, half & half, red wine vinegar, sugar, pesto, and olive oil.
- Dice the onion, peppers, green onions, salami and pepperoni and mix with the dressing.
- Add the olives. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Dice the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese then set both aside to be added later.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, drain well. Stir the drained pasta into the dressing, then set the mixing bowl into the refrigerator to allow the salad to cool.
- After the salad has cooled, add the diced Roma tomatoes, grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Garnish with chopped green onions.
- Serve chilled.