Recipe: Summer Pasta Salad by Perfect Italiano

I’d like to consider myself a very domestic person.

Sure, I love a good night out with my friends, but more than anything, I think I enjoy house parties the best. Cooking up a feast at a comfortable homely environment, have your friends gather around the dining table or couch, enjoying good home cooked food while chatting and laughing over some drinks… Now, I’ll take that over a night out almost any day. So you can imagine that cooking is honestly one of my favoritest things to do in the world!

I know many people find cooking a chore, but I find it to be one of the most satisfying tasks I can accomplish on a day-to-day basis because it provides me instant gratification. You get to be creative, share the love with your friends by feeding their hungry tummies, enjoy delicious food cooked to your own preferences and of course, flaunt your kitchen skills and impress people! What I DON’T like, however, is the mad rush to get everything prepped right before a big dinner party.. Last weekend, I was tasked to cook for a party that had approximately 20 people, and that kinda intimidated me a little bit! I’m used to cooking for 2-6 people, or perhaps even up to 8 or 10, but 20 pax is a whole different ball game. I needed to do various dishes that complemented each other and tasted great, yet not too difficult to achieve as I’ll be the main one executing them. I came up with this Summer Pasta Salad recipe which got a great response from people, with some even requesting to bring back the leftovers, so I take that as a good sign!

Summer Pasta Salad

This makes a good light lunch or a fantastic side dish to go with meats or heavier main items. But what I like most about it is that it can be made hours in advance, just chuck it in the fridge or leave it out in an air conditioned room and it’s all ready for your guests to dig into as soon as they arrive!

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 200g chicken sausages, sliced
  • 150g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 200g sour cream
  • 100g coleslaw veg, chopped
  • 200g boiled egg, diced
  • 350g cooked macaroni
  • 3 avocados, mashed
  • 1 yellow / white onion, chopped
  • a good splashing / 4 tablespoons of japanese sesame dressing & olive oil
  • 100g Perfect Italiano Mozzarella
  • Perfect Italiano Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil eggs until stiff, then deshell them.
  2. Cook macaroni pasta in boiling water for about 7 minutes or until al dente, then drizzle a bit of olive oil over the pasta to prevent sticking, and set aside.
  3. Stir fry chicken sausages, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and onions until cooked.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss together all the cooked ingredients, fresh ingredients and mozzarella together, until well combined.
  5. Give a further splashing of sesame dressing on top.
  6. Garnish with fresh herbs and Perfect Italiano Parmesan cheese.
  7. Toss in fridge or leave out in a cool temperature room, and serve cold!

I love this pasta salad. It’s as versatile as you want it to be! Make it meat-free for a vegetarian option. You can include or take away any ingredients according to your preferences, but keep the sour cream, dressing, cheese, and pasta because that will be your base recipe to work with. I’m a very casual and fuss-free cook, so I prefer using recipes that do not require exact measurements

. I like to make it up as I go, depending on my mood. I’ve made several variations of this recipe, other times including corn kernels, chicken breast to substitute the sausages, and replaced the avocados with pesto sauce – they were all mighty delicious! I named this summer pasta salad because of all the fresh ingredients it uses, and I reckon this would be perfect served up at a summer picnic or BBQ! Or in Singapore, where you know, it’s perpetually summer around here.

I think the key to this pasta salad lies in the sour cream base. Many pasta salads use mayonnaise which I find to be a bit thicker and heavier. I feel that pasta salads should be kept light, and refreshing!

Of course, the addition of Perfect Italiano Mozzarella Cheese gives a nice subtle texture & bite to the dish, and the sesame dressing lends a sweetness because the sour cream doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own. I like to garnish with Perfect Italiano Parmesan Cheese for that sharp, savory hint of cheese as well. You can keep this salad in the fridge for up to 2 days.

I can always count on Perfect Italiano’s range of cheeses to dress up my home cooking, turning otherwise boring dishes into something different and tantalizing! My life would never be the same without cheese. I think I’ve lost count of the number of cheese-related recipes I’ve posted on this blog.

I hope you guys have enjoyed looking at or recreating them, as I always try to come up with different recipes that aren’t too similar, to show you that cheese can really be used in a huuuge selection of recipes! One ingredient, tons of uses. That’s why I almost always have a packet of Perfect Italiano cheese in my fridge, no matter the time of year!

Available at leading supermarkets, visit Perfect Italiano’s official website for more cheesy ideas to experiment in your kitchen with, and don’t forget to hashtag your own homemade creations using #PerfectItalianoSG on Instagram!