Hot take alert: I don’t know if I’ve ever had a pasta salad and thought, Wow, this is a great pasta salad. Have you? They always seem to be just too pasta-heavy and…room temperature-y. Well, after trying this one from Odette Williams’s wonderful Simple Pasta last week, I am on my way to changing my mind. Why? Well, for starters, the noodle she mixes in with the other ingredients is bite-size ditalini, which means, as she writes in the recipe intro, “every time you take a bite…you’ll get all the big, bold flavors of an antipasto platter—salami, chickpeas, fontina, pepperoncini—in one mouthful.” She’s right, I found myself eating it like cereal with a spoon to optimize the flavor-explosion effect. And since it’s actually delicious at room temp, I picture the dish being a regular in my rotation for potlucks, tailgates, picnics, and no-brainer weeknight dinners.
Chopped Pasta Salad
Makes 4 servings
From Simple Pasta, by Odette Williams
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
A splash of extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/2 cup
10 ounces dried ditalini or other small pasta
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 ounces salami, cut into matchsticks
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pepperoncini
6 ounces fontina, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups coarsely chopped radicchio or arugula
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
8 sprigs thyme, stemmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl combine the onion, vinegar, and lemon juice and let marinate while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain the pasta in a colander, place in a large bowl, and add a splash of olive oil to stop it from sticking together.
Add the chickpeas, salami, pepperoncini, fontina, radicchio, and parsley to the pasta and toss to combine.
Whisk the 1/2 cup olive oil, honey, mustard, thyme, and salt into the onion-vinegar mixture and season with pepper. Pour over the pasta and toss to combine.
Serve the pasta on a platter and season with some cranks of pepper.