*Good To Know*
- Can I use other types of pasta? Any short pasta noodle will work. Penne, Bowtie, Canneroni…etc. What I would suggest is adjusting the amount of vinaigrette you add, especially if the noodles are miniature instead of regular size.
- Why is there so much vinaigrette in this recipe? I’ve made this dish several times and what I’ve discovered is that the pasta salad becomes really flavourful once it has absorbed all of the vinaigrette while it’s chilling in the fridge. You can reduce the ingredients for the vinaigrette by 50% if your preference is to have less. (I do recommend letting the pasta rest for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving though).
- What kind of tomatoes can I use? There’s no right or wrong way to use tomatoes in this recipe. It’s a personal preference. For me, the rainbow heirloom cherry tomatoes tasted best but if you prefer red cherry tomatoes or even chopped roma, cocktail or beefsteak tomatoes that is totally ok too. Cherry tomatoes are good because they are bite size and sweeter (again, personal preference).
This dish is super easy! After you cook the pasta according to box instructions (typically 8 to 9 minutes) drain and rinse the pasta with cold water for approximately 30 seconds to slow the pasta from continuing to cook. The pasta should be slightly warm to the touch since this will help the pasta absorb the vinaigrette quickly (if you plan on making this the day of). My suggestion is to fully cook the pasta instead of al dente because once chilled, the pasta is more firm to the bite similar to al dente.
So what’s this secret ingredient I used in my vinaigrette, you ask? Powdered chicken stock! You’d be surprised how many uses you have with this little magic dust. Rather than using salt, use the stock powder. It adds amazing flavour to your pasta salad. In case you haven’t noticed from my other posts yet, I am ALL about flavour! Give this a try and see if you like it! If you’re still not fond of the stock powder, substitute it for 1 Tablespoon sea salt (or kosher salt) OR try 1 to 2 Tablespoons vegetable stock powder instead to keep it vegetarian.
Whether you let the pasta rest for 30 miutes, 1 hour or overnight, I highly recommend letting the pasta chill and rest for one of the previous mentioned times. This will allow the flavours to develop and give the pasta a chance to absorb all of the zesty goodness!
Tuscan Pasta Salad
- 4 cups (454 g) uncooked tricolour rotini pasta (1 package), (makes 8 cups cooked)
- 1/2 cup (100 g) marinated quartered artichoke hearts (1 small glass jar), roughly chopped ( save marinade water for vinaigrette)
- 1/2 cup (55 g) sundried tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup (68 g) sliced black olives, drained
- 1/2 cup (68 g) sliced green olives, drained
- 1 cup (149 g) cherry tomatoes ( rainbow or red), halved
- 1 cup (226 g) feta cheese (herb garlic or regular), crumbled
- Cook tricolour rotini pasta according to box instructions (cook fully, not al dente). Drain and rinse with cold water for 30 seconds (pasta should still be slightly warm after rinse). Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Add to pasta bowl artichoke, sundried tomatoes, black & green olives, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese.
- In a medium mixing bowl add left-over artichoke marinade water, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, chicken stock powder, honey and olive oil. Whisk well to combine and pour into pasta bowl.
- Mix to combine pasta & vinaigrette with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight) before serving.