I'm looking for pasta salad-making tips. Do you add your dressing to hot pasta or cold pasta? Are there any cardinal rules of pasta salad-making? How do you make yours?
Dress while warm and then dress again before serving if needed (i.e. make ahead pasta salad that comes out of the fridge).
Remove from fridge 30+ mins before serving
I do it cold, but there's no science that I know of. I use bowtie, which I feel catches more dressing per bite. Cut up some tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, carrots and pepperoni, add some pepper and McCormicks Perfect Pinch Veggie seasoning. That's it, fold in some Italian dressing and put in the fridge over night. Easy and worry free.
One rule of thumb I have: only 1/3 of the final volume is pasta (or another carb), the rest vegetables, protein, or whatever else you are using. Too much pasta bores me.
I quickly rinse the pasta after cooking and then stir in a tablespoon or so of vinegar or lemon juice (depending on the salad). I then let the pasta cool before adding the dressing and other ingredients. And I try to save a little of the dressing for stirring in just before serving.
Bow tie pasta..sun dried tomatoes. .artichoke hearts...Black olives. .fresh Italian parsley. .in a champagne lemon vinaigrette..tossed while warm. .Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano
McCormick salad supreme, cherry tomatoes halved, blanched broccoli, diced cucumber, cooked spaghetti, and Italian dressing
Dress the pasta warm. Red wine vinegar turns it a pretty pink, I think (0thers may find it repulsive). Then add whatever vegetables, some cheese, olives, and correct the seasoning/dressing.
Marian, as everyone above suggests, I dress it a little first to let it soak in, then toss again with a little more dressing before serving. But I find that if offer both a pasta and potato salad, the potato salad disappears first.
Toss bowties or rotelli pasta with Italian-type dressing while warm. Add chopped, marinated artichoke hearts, diced salami, thinly-sliced zucchini and yellow squash, sliced black olives. Add some more dressing before serving and toss with some grated Parmesan.
I toss the pasta with pesto while it's still warm, then I add extra acid (lemon or vinegar) to brighten it up. Once it cold I like to add crunch (in veggie and nut form) and then often some bits of cheese, chicken, shrimp, or whatever protein sounds good. I also like a briny element - capers or olives or marinated artichoke hearts. Additional chopped fresh herbs and lots of freshly ground pepper to serve. I use bite-size pasta - penne or farfalle or the twirly guys, just whatever is available.
I like both but mostly cold
How to make pasta salad without a recipe (by Marian)