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Pasta Salad with Smoked Mozzarella and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Are you looking for a different salad to serve at your Easter brunch buffet? My Pasta Salad with Smoked Mozzarella and Sun-Dried Tomatoes is too die for! I like to make it the day before and let the dressing absorb into the pasta overnight. It is just like potato salad—it has the most flavor after it sits in the fridge for 24 hours. I add the spinach and red bell pepper strips right before serving so they are crisp and fresh.

Pasta Salad with Smoked Mozzarella and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Serves 10 to 12

For the Parmesan dressing: 1 cup mayonnaise ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated ½ cup white wine vinegar 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1 teaspoon large grind black pepper, or to taste

In a blender, place mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, vinegar, garlic, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper and process until blended and smooth. Set aside.

For the pasta salad:

1 pound penne pasta 1 ½ cups sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced 1 pound smoked mozzarella cheese, diced Reserved Parmesan dressing In a large kettle, bring salted water to boil over a high heat. Add pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Drain the pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water until chilled through. Drain again.

In a large mixing bowl, place pasta, sundried tomatoes, smoked mozzarella cheese, and dressing and stir to combine. Refrigerate overnight.

4 cups tightly packed baby spinach 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded Using a sharp knife, cut bell pepper into ¼-inch thick slices about 1-inch in length. Just before serving, add spinach and bell pepper strips. Stir to combine. Tips on selecting spinach: Spinach should be deep green in color with crisp, perky leaves. Do not buy spinach if it has yellow or broken leaves. Shop with your nose. If you smell an unpleasant odor, pass. If you are buying bagged spinach, inspect the bag carefully. Spinach deteriorates quickly. Also, check the “Best if Used by Date” to be sure it hasn’t passed its freshness date.

Tips on storing spinach: Place in reusable, paper, or plastic bags and store for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Tips on selecting bell peppers: Look for fresh, firm peppers that are bright and thick-fleshed with a firm green calyx and stem. Bell peppers should feel heavy for their size and have a crisp, shiny skin. Bell peppers have lobes on the top. The number of lobes can help you determine which pepper to buy. Bell peppers with four or more lobes are better for eating raw. Peppers with three lobes are better for roasting, sautéing, or grilling.

Tips on storing bell peppers: Sweet bell peppers will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. It is best not to wash bell peppers until you are ready to use them.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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