July 24, 2014

Pizza Pasta Salad

You know that nice grocery store you don’t shop at often? The one that always smells amazing, has live lobsters and carries fruit you've never heard of? The one you wish you could shop at all the time because it’s just so much better but it’s crazy expensive so you don’t?

Well, I ended up there this week to do my shopping because I literally had to drive right past it and it just seemed ridiculous to go that far out of my way to go to the cheaper store. Plus I’d just gotten my hair cut and since no one can ever style my curly hair, she’d straightened it so I was feeling sorta fancy.

I was having a ball, walking around admiring all the fresh baked bread acting like I fit in with all the perky housewives in tennis outfits (But seriously, where are their kids? They don’t have to work and they don’t have to keep their kids? Man, sign me up for that!) until I had sticker shock in the meat department and almost caused a scene.

Then I decided to just get what I needed then go back out sometime later for my big-ticket items. But before I left I spotted these adorable little baby mozzarella pearls and just had to get them. I decided I wanted to put them in a pasta salad and then the whole pizza theme developed from there. You can easily just buy fresh mozzarella then cut it into cubes if you can’t find the pearls. But seriously, look at these things… adorable! And delicious too!

Pizza Pasta Salad
12 ounces rotini pasta
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 3.8 ounce can sliced black olives, drained well
8 ounces mozzarella pearls*
2 cups mini pepperoni slices**
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4-1 cup zesty Italian salad dressing (to taste)

Cook pasta in liberally salted water per manufacturer’s instructions for al dente preparation. Rinse in cold water then drain thoroughly.

Combine pasta with remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Refrigerate to store in an airtight container.

*Mozzarella pearls are small little balls of fresh mozzarella and can usually be found in the deli section. If you can’t find them substitute with diced fresh mozzarella.

**I only used one cup (5-oz package) but wished I’d used two. Next time I will either use two cups or quarter some hard salami slices to go along with the mini pepperoni.

Other items to consider adding:
Pepperoncini peppers
Red bell peppers
Fresh basil
Red onions

This recipe was featured at the Weekend Potluck!

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