Italian Pasta Salad
Why This Recipe Works
For a better, more worthwhile pasta salad, we used corkscrew-shaped fusilli, which had plenty of surface area for capturing dressing. We cooked the pasta until it was a little too soft so that as it cooled and firmed up, it would have just the right tender texture. Rather than toss raw vegetables into the mix, we took inspiration from Italian antipasto platters and used intensely flavored jarred ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and pepperoncini that offered a mix of textures that didn't overshadow the pasta. For heartiness, we included salami, and to balance the salt and tang, we added chunks of creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and peppery arugula. To ensure that the pasta itself was just as flavorful as the rest of the dish, we made a thick, punchy dressing by processing some of the salad ingredients themselves—capers and pepperoncini plus some of the tangy pepperoncini brine—with olive oil infused with garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovies.