Muffuletta Pasta Salad ~ Take a Bite out of New Orleans with Hodgson Mill!

I sure do love to travel, but this summer a big trip is simply not in the cards.  How about you?  Cooking up some regional cuisine can be a wonderful way to experience another place without leaving your home.  The idea of taking a “culinary vacation” is what inspired this incredibly delicious Muffuletta Pasta Salad, based on the legendary sandwich – It’s a taste of New Orleans so authentic and evocative that you’ll swear you hear jazz music playing and can smell beignets frying off in the distance!.  

When it comes to whole wheat pasta, Hodgson Mill is the only brand I truly love!  I don't miss pasta made with white flour for a single second when I cook with Hodgson Mill!

I created this recipe for the Hodgson Mill Summer Pastabilities Contest.  The Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta is the perfect size, shape and flavor to bring this memorable dish to life!  It's perfect for parties, picnics and potlucks.  With the whole grain pasta, cheeses, meats and vegetables, it's an entire meal in one bowl.

The traditional New Orleans style olive salad you'll make for this dish is easy to throw together and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.  It only gets better as it ages.  It’s great to keep a jar on hand and a box of Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta in the pantry, so that you can whip up a “trip” to the Big Easy in minutes any time the craving strikes.

Muffuletta Pasta Salad
An Antipasti Pasta Salad
Makes 10 1-cup servings

1 10 oz. package Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta, cooked
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Olive salad
¾ cup small Manzanilla olives (green) with pimentos, drained
½ cup Kalamata olives, drained
8 oz. jar of ready-made Giardiniera, drained
1 Tablespoon Capers, drained
2 cloves garlic, crushed with the blunt edge of a knife
1 Tablespoon Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup red onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 oz. baby Swiss, cut into ¼” cubes
6 oz. Provolone, cut into 1”x1/4” strips
3 oz. hard salami, cut into 1”x1/4” strips
2 oz. capocolla, cut into 1”x1/4” strips
4 oz. lean ham, cut into 1”x1/4” strips

Step 1:  Boil 4 quarts of water with 1 Tablespoon kosher salt.  Add pasta to boiling water and stir vigorously until water boils again.  Cook 7 minutes.  Drain and transfer pasta to a large bowl.  Toss with 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.  Set aside to cool.

Step 2:  Prepare the olive salad by placing all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulsing till it looks like a chunky salsa.  Olive salad can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.

Step 3:  Stir olive salad into the cooled pasta.

Step 4:  Stir the antipasti (cheeses and meats)  into the pasta.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to a week.  The flavor gets better and more developed with each day!

I like to serve my Muffuletta Pasta salad with grilled focaccia.

Disclaimer:  I was given several complimentary boxes of Hodgson Mill whole wheat pasta in order to develop this recipe.  The recipe is original and the opinions are my own.  I've never been a big fan of whole wheat pasta, but Hodgson Mill changed that.

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